Pedro de la Rosa has said that he is still hoping one day he will be able to make a return to Formula 1 racing and step off the reserve bench.

The Spaniard, who has been a McLaren-Mercedes test driver now since 2003, has had several race opportunities since then, most recently standing in for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2006, when the Colombian was dropped following the United States Grand Prix.

However despite some notable performances - including finishing second in Hungary in '06, he hasn't done a full season since his time with the now defunct Jaguar team, more than five years ago.

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Speaking during the annual Autosport International show at the NEC in Birmingham though, he reiterated that he hasn't lost the racing bug.

"I am only here because I want to go back racing in Formula 1," he told British tabloid newspaper, The Sun. "The day I see there is no option for me [to do that] I will give up because there is no point in testing otherwise.

"Your fuel, your gasoline is racing and this is the same for test drivers. I will keep pushing. The only way of going back racing is to do a good job as a test driver and you have to be fully committed. You always have to have your enthusiasm to the top and think that at any time, at any circuit, you could jump into one of the race cars. For the moment racing is still in my heart, it is still very much in my blood. We will keep going."

As for the season ahead, de la Rosa noted that it is not going to be easy, especially now that there will be no in-season testing, a ruling that is definitely bad for him and his ambition of returning to the grid.

"We have an awful lot of work to do before Australia. We have five test weeks before then and that is it. After that there is no more testing," he continued. "We are limited on tyres, on kilometres of testing and on days. We are limited on everything nowadays in testing. I think that will make it more difficult.

"We have a very limited number of days and we will have to make the package, the car, the engine, KERS and so on, not only fast, but reliable. That is going to be difficult.

"It is going to be very interesting from a test driver point of view. Unfortunately however, once the season starts there is no more testing. That will make it very strange because I have been use to sitting in the car every two weeks."