De la Rosa rejoins McLaren as reserve driver 09 Mar 2011
After a spell racing for BMW Sauber last year, long-term McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa has rejoined the British team as their official test and reserve driver. De la Rosa originally joined McLaren back in 2003 and worked closely with the team for over seven seasons, helping develop cars which scored 29 victories and the drivers world championship with Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
Of all the teams Ive driven for in Formula One, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the one that really feels like home, said the Spaniard. So Im very excited about returning to the team to help push the development of the MP4-26. Lewis and Jenson already have an extremely positive and productive working relationship - so, building on and adding to their existing rapport, I'm aiming to do everything I can to help them get even more from our car, our engineers and our technical resources back at the McLaren Technology Centre.
De la Rosa has started 84 Grands Prix, for Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren and BMW Sauber, but its his testing expertise which McLaren prize the most. He has driven a mammoth 361 Formula One test days over his long career, encompassing 22,763 laps and 104,248 kilometres.
I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that I'm delighted that Pedro has chosen to return to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. He rejoins us with even greater experience, and his motivation and attention to detail remain as sharp as ever. His recruitment adds considerable strength in depth to our driver line-up.
McLaren also announced they will retain the services of 2005 German Touring Car (DTM) champion and 2002 German Formula Three champion Gary Paffett in their test line-up. Paffett will launch a full racing campaign for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series this season and so will not be able to attend Grands Prix. The Britons role will therefore be confined to the teams simulator.
"With two world champion race drivers in Lewis and Jenson, and two of the world's most experienced and capable development drivers in Pedro and Gary, we feel we have a quartet of talent that is absolutely second-to-none, added Whitmarsh. We wish Gary a very successful season in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz - and are delighted that, away from the world's race tracks, he'll continue to give us the benefit of his considerable technical and developmental abilities.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.