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De la Rosa to race for BMW Sauber 19 Jan 2010

Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes 2009 Interim Car. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008. McLaren celebrates 10 years as an F1 driver for Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Third Driver (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren; Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer; Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director; Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Third Driver and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 29 March 2009 Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/24 Formula One Testing, 1-5 March 2009, Jerez, Spain.

BMW Sauber announced on Tuesday that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the Swiss-based team this season. De la Rosa, who will pair up with new team mate Kamui Kobayashi, has 71 Grands Prix starts under his belt and has worked with McLaren as a test and reserve driver for the last seven years.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa, 38, added: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

De la Rosa began karting at the relatively late age of 17, but was immediately discovered and sponsored by the Spanish Automobile Federation. A year later he had already progressed to a single-seater racing car and went on to win the Formula Fiat Uno series. After successful stints in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and British Formula Three, 1997 saw him win the Japanese Formula 3000 and GT championship.

In 1998 he made his debut as a Formula One test driver for the Jordan team. He contested his first Grand Prix in Australia in 1999 for Arrows, taking his inferior car straight into the points with a sixth-placed finish. He remained with Arrows in 1999 and 2000, moving to Jaguar for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

From 2003 through to 2009 he worked for McLaren as a reserve driver. Called upon to race for the team in nine Grands Prix, he capitalised on these opportunities. In 2005 he finished fifth in Bahrain and claimed the fastest race lap. 2006 saw him stepping into the breach again and over eight races he managed to pick up 19 world championship points and take a second place in Hungary.