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Di Grassi confirmed as Pirelli test driver 06 Jul 2011

Lucas di Grassi (BRA) Pirelli Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Thursday, 5 May 2011 Lucas di Grassi in action for Pirelli

Pirelli announced on Wednesday that former Virgin racer Lucas di Grassi has become their Formula One test driver. Di Grassi will drive the Italian company’s Toyota TF109 test car to develop their latest generation of F1 tyres for the future in at least five tests over the course of this year.

“A significant part of our tyre development stems from the feedback we receive from our test driver, so this is an absolutely crucial appointment,” said Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Lucas has impressed us not only with his pace, which is vital if we are going to accurately simulate racing conditions, but also his technical feedback to the engineers. I’m delighted to welcome Lucas into the team.”

In addition to carrying out the tests, the Brazilian will attend some Grands Prix with Pirelli this year starting from Silverstone, in order to collect information and pass on his experience during technical debriefs.

“Pirelli has done a fantastic job so far in a very short space of time and I’m looking forward to helping to make the P Zero tyres even better in the future: not just for the drivers and teams but for the spectators as well,” Di Grassi said. “This is a great opportunity for me to get more time behind the wheel of a Formula One car - which is difficult these days because of the current testing regulations - and also to use my knowledge to help make a real difference to the sport.”

Di Grassi has been driving Formula One cars since 2005, first as a reserve driver for Renault, before obtaining a full-time seat in 2010 for the Virgin team. He also finished in the top three of the GP2 Series on three consecutive occasions from 2007-2009. Di Grassi’s Pirelli programme will focus on developing the manufacturer's 2012 tyres.