BMW Sauber has confirmed Pedro de la Rosa will make a return to F1 in 2010 with the team.
De la Rosa will partner Japanese team mate Kamui Kobayashi.
De la Rosa said:
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.
Pedro de la Rosa
Peter Sauber expects de la Rosa’s experience to aid Kobayashi, who has made just two F1 starts:
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.
The Spanish driver’s last F1 start was for McLaren at Interlagos in 2006. He spent half that season substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.
According to Joe Saward, de la Rosa’s deal is being backed by a network of universities called Universia.
De la Rosa has had a patchy career in F1 which began when he scored a point on his debut for Arrows at Melbourne in 1999.
He spent two years with them and a further two with Jaguar. It’s fair to say he failed to capture the imagination of Spanish fans the way Fernando Alonso did when he had his breakthrough season for Renault in 2003, while de la Rosa was on the sidelines.
De la Rosa earned a reputation as a dependable test driver while at McLaren. He and Alonso were briefly team mates at McLaren in 2007, when both were implicated in the ‘spygate’ episode.
The expertise de la Rosa garnered as a test driver was put to use by the designers of the Motorland Aragon circuit, which I interviewed him about last year.
His years of experience will make him an excellent benchmark for Kobayashi. But you could have said the same about Nick Heidfeld, and in many ways it’s a surprise to see de la Rosa get the seat instead of the German, who has driven for the team in six seasons of F1.
Pedro de la Rosa joins BMW Sauber
Image (C) BMW Sauber