Pedro de la Rosa to join HRT in 2012

2012 F1 season

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Pedro de la Rosa will return to F1 with HRT in 2012, the team has confirmed.

He will join the team on a two-year contract starting in January.

De la Rosa made his last start in Montreal for Sauber as a substitute for Sergio Perez. He also drove for the team in 2010 before being replaced by Nick Heidfeld mid-way through the season.

He returned to his testing role at McLaren at the beginning of this year.

“This is a very important step in my sporting career and one of the most meditated ones I’ve taken,” said de la Rosa.

“I’m at a very good stage in terms of maturity and am prepared to take on this challenge, which motivates me hugely.

“When deciding on joining this project, for me there were three decisive factors: my desire to return to the active competition, the fact that HRT is a Spanish team and getting to know the people leading this project, Luis Perez-Sala being amongst them. I’m here to work hard, with modesty and humility, accepting where we are now but keeping in mind where we want to be in two years’ time.

“For me, this is the time to put into practice everything that I have learnt over the years at international top level racing teams so that we can grow together. I am proud that Spain has an F1 team and that I have this opportunity to be its driver. I can only show my gratitude towards HRT for having trusted in me for this.

“Lastly, I can’t forget to thank McLaren for allowing me to take this step. I have been very happy over the eight seasons I spent with them, growing as a driver and person. Without them I wouldn’t be here today.”

HRT team principal Colin Kolles said: “Apart from being a great person he is an experienced driver as his career and prestige in Formula 1 prove. I give him my most sincere welcome.

“I am sure that he will adapt perfectly and that together we will achieve great things.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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90 comments on “Pedro de la Rosa to join HRT in 2012”

  1. Perhaps this will help HRT move forward a little, although they’ve a lot of work to do to catch Lotus (Caterham…)! Also interesting to note it’s a two year contract. THat’s a first for HRT and must give some indication that they’re here unil 2013 at very least.

    I’d also guess that this means bye bye Liuzzi…

    1. it’s a first too that they started sorting out the line up so early!

      And probably yeah, bye bye Liuzzi. He’s had enough chances to impress…

      1. He’s had enough chances to impress…

        Why, has de la Rosa not?
        I don’t particularly like de la Rosa precisely for this: he always gets second chances. Sauber last year (he was sacked and substituted by Heidfeld) and HRT next year.
        There were ruomours Fisichella could have driven for Sauber in 2010: he’d have been a better choice as he had just taken a pole position and was still strong; de la Rosa had last started a race in 2006. I regard Pedro as a lucky driver: he was the obvious choice to replace Montoya in 2006, but he had more chances since then, whilst his fellow tester Paffett has never been considered by a team which made it on the grid.
        When I think of my hero Badoer, who wasn’t even chosen by his own team to replace Schumacher, I think if he had been given a second chance he’d have done better.
        Liuzzi has experience and is younger, and is familiar with the team.

        1. You can’t possibly be serious about Badoer, can you?

          When he was given a Ferrari seat in 2009 replacing Massa, he was 3-4 Seconds off his teammate’s pace. At least DLR is reasonably competitive when jumping into a new car.

    2. I still can’t understand how it is good move for HRT. Pedro is may be good test driver but for race seat at this age probably not the right choice (other than a spanish in spanish team). HRT has inherent weakness in it’s operation which only team itself can fix by having longterm view, recruiting & putting right people at right place. We have all seen that when car is not good, even barrichelo can’t do anything with williams (I don’t rate barrichello that high as a driver but at least better than pedro).

      1. Yes and no. With possibly the best development in driver (yes, better than Rubens/Schumacher) in Pedro, he could tell them which area is the most lacking, to get the most bang for their buck in terms of development.

        If they wanted him to help test and develop the car, they have no choice but to field him in a race seat. For one thing there’s no way in hell he’d move from a McLaren tester to an HRT tester, and for another thing you can’t test outside of race weekends anyway, save for straight line testing.

    3. Not too sure about Liuzzi going now. He does have a contract to drive until the end of 2012 (I guess a single season of FI equals at least 2 years of driving at HRT), according to both Adam Cooper and JS.

      So it might well be, that this is going to be HRT with a very experienced line up, although I would not rule out something like a chairdance for at least some GPs, they would be wise to keep the Indian connection with Karthikeyan who could do India again and some young gun for the 3rd/4th seat (Spanish?) bringing a bit of money in.

  2. Well, this was not on the radar. Seems to be a smart move by HRT. Someone with good testing experience to can at least give strong development feedback and direction…..hopefully

    1. Some people on here did suggest he may have been given a race seat after getting the boot from Sauber last year, for a few races. Or indeed, a full season contract this year. Turns out their estimations where about a year out.

      I’m pretty suprised myself by this.

  3. so that means that Liuzzi will be getting the boot, unless Riccardo gets moved into a torro rosso

    1. Joe Saward is reporting that Liuzzi’s seat at HRT is a done deal, but of course, he’s quite the Liuzzi fan, so…

      I seriously didn’t see de la Rosa getting a seat. Reminds me a bit of Wurz at Williams in 2007. I’m wondering just how much money he’s bringing to the team.

      1. He doesn’t have money but spainish team and driver sponsers will come

      2. @KaIIe Huh? De la Rosa has already been confirmed for the team

        1. She said she didn’t see him getting a seat, i.e. was surprised when he did

    2. @harvs slightly off topic, but whose helmet is that on the avatar? Looks like a McLaren one with the Vodafone band across the top but I don’t recognize the design

      1. @raymondu999 Its my design. Its belongs to no body else. My dad used to do some amateur carting when we he was a boy in South Africa, so when we moved to New Zealand I copied the design but changed the colors for a combination of the South African and New Zealand designs, I’ve have a full sized helmet with the design painted on at home, but the avatar is just the design over the top of a McLaren helmet because I support McLaren.

  4. Never thought I’d see this guy back, so glad he is! A lovely guy, and there’s obviously a reason he’s had connections with McLaren for this long.

    I’m here to work hard, with modesty and humility, accepting where we are now but keeping in mind where we want to be in two years’ time.

    My favourite quote of the article. Nice to hear this sort of realism from an HRT driver and a two year contract certainly shows the convincing commitment to the sport from this team yet. It’s all about the second seat now. Heart says Liuzzi, but they’ll probably take whatever Red Bull training driver that doesn’t go to Toro Rosso next year. So Probably Jean-Eric Vergne.

    1. But it seems Liuzzi also had a 2 year deal for this and next year, so we might see these two together at HRT for most races.

  5. I see Hispania are advocating the “drawing a random name out of a hat” method of driver selection. They did it with Karthikeyan last year, too.

    But this might actually be a good move. Pedro de la Rosa is very respected in the paddock as a test driver, so if anyone can develop the Hispania F112, it’s him. I think this is the intention, given that he has a two-year contract with the team.

  6. Personally, I did not see this news coming, but it is a great decision on the behalf of HRT. First of all, they have a Spanish representative, which is what they aimed for. Second of all, his technical expertise will be a major boost for the team. HRT should retain Liuzzi or pick up Barrichello because an experienced line-up would be crucial if they want to establish a successful future and have young Spanish drivers in their cockpits. De la Rosa’s tenure with the team will pave the way for drivers like Dani Clos and Javier Villa to join by 2013.

    On a side note, it’ll be interesting to see if Daniel Juncadella gets an HRT seat in 2013 or 2014. He won the Macau Grand Prix this year (probably his only notable achievement so far) and he seems to have a guaranteed future HRT seat. This is because he is the nephew of ex-Minardi pilot Luis Perez-Sala, who is currently the sporting director for HRT. As HRT’s new-look Thesan Management group are interested in a future “Spanish dream team” Juncadella, a Spaniard, must be an option for the team in the near future. Plus, he has lucrative funding from the Kazakh goverment consortium Astana, which also sponsors a famous cycling team. Having a Kazakh-backed driver for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix would be a smart move, as Russo-Kazakh ties have been gaining strength. HRT, not the most sponsor-attractive team, would benefit from Kazakh sponsorhip.

    1. Ah, thanks for bringing that connection in for Juncadella. Sounds like he will very likely get at least on the roster as xth-driver/test driver with HRT in the future.

  7. I can see how this would be a good move for HRT: He’s experienced and will be invaluable at helping them develop a car.

    But a part of me sees the likes of Trulli, Barrichello and now De La Rosa trundling around the back of the grid as just blocking new talent from entering the sport. These guys are all in the twilight of their careers and have had enough time in the sport in my view. In an ideal world I’d prefer to see a brand new talent in one of those seats who is hungry and motivated to drive the wheels off the car. Look at how much Alonso impressed in a Minardi in 2001.

    Will the old blood staying on for so long be to the detriment of great new talents being seen?

    1. Young drivers shouldn’t complete the full line up at a team. They exploit their talents better if teamed with an experienced driver like Rubens or DLR, in my opinion. A bit like Hulkenberg at Williams.

      Plus it’s a good way to measure how good the rookie is.

    2. I’m one of Schumacher’s biggest fans, but why isnt he on that list too? He’s just about got back up to speed, probably 0.3s per lap off at worst (which is a lot really…) but he isnt considered as past it.

      Is it perhaps because he’s only back for a three seasons, or perhaps four (depending how well next year goes)? Not having a dig at your comment @Colossal Squid, because I agree 100% with what you’re saying, just an interesting observation.

      1. @James Nah I left him off entirely due to my own personal bias for him. Being fair he also should be included. Probably right to call me out :)

        @Fer no.65 I think it would be up for debate how much a rookie would learn from an experienced team mate, and besides you could have someone less experienced in the team who would do the job as effectively. Taking Lotus/Caterham as an example, wouldn’t it be better to have Kovalainen and a new talent in there instead of Trulli?
        Or look at Sauber this year; two young drivers who are delivering pretty good, consistent results in a fairly uncompetitive car.

    3. Why exactly do we need to move out older drivers for rookies?

      I’ve never understood this.

      If it’s in the interests of a team to have a rookie, then yes, take him. But I don’t get this morality that’s seemingly going against older drivers. They are (supposedly) grown men, we don’t have to give them all an equal turn on the playground anymore.

      1. @mike – some of them are clearly past their prime. Like Jarno Trulli. He was once regarded as Formula 1’s best one-lap specialist, but this year alone, he has been beaten in qualifying by Heikki Kovalainen by a margin of 15-2. I understand he was drafted into the team to help them develop the car, but the team is now as the point where they don’t need him.

        1. Like Jarno Trulli

          Well, Trulli has dropped performance. So there is that reason to drop him.

          But I was talking about say, Rubens or Schumacher, who despite their age are still pulling their weight.

  8. Very smart move by HRT but I am a tad disappointed that Pedro has to be stuck with such a vehicle. Pedro is a very good driver and I remember studying his results relative to Kobayashi and being impressed. Glad he is back.

  9. If HTR team him with a young guy like Ricciardo, then it’ll be great. De La Rosa is a lot more complete driver in terms of experience developing a car than Liuzzi, that’s for sure.

    I thought Barrichello would be going to HRT, to be honest, but DLR isn’t a bad choice!

    Good for HRT!

    1. So maybe Ruebens will go to Virgin then?

      1. Virgin are expected to take Charles Pic.

      2. Yesterday someone posted a link to a Brazilian reporters blog (said to be pretty reliable mostly) hinting at Rubens to Renault

        1. I think it’s a little difficult to trust those articles, @bascb – Barrichello is very popular in Brazil, so the Brazilian media might insinuate that he will stay in Formula 1 for 2012.

          1. Yes, its pretty likely that rumour turns out to be just part of the silly season folclore @prisoner-monkeys

          2. Well, as unlikely as it is, it’s not completely ridiculous. Renault want a number one, and Kubica doesn’t look like he will be well enough to come back yet.

  10. Best comment I saw on this all day was Adam Cooper on twitter:

    #F1 Good to see @pedrodelarosa1 land the HRT seat, but no doubt there will be controversy as youngsters like @rubarrichello have no drive!

    1. When I saw this one on my twitter timeline I was laughing so hard…

  11. I believe this was one of the best decisions the small teams have made, even though I do not believe Pedro de la Rosa is a fast driver, he should have enough intel on what makes a great team work. He has spent countless years at McLaren and should know details about the sport that small teams haven’t realized yet. To summarize I do not believe he would be a great addition to any big names, but for small new comers, he was a very good choice.

    1. That was my thought too, I dont expect him to blow away his team-mate, but he could do some good work behind the scenes. A team like HRT is fine with only one fast driver as their points (probably) aren’t cumulative, ie one of them getting an 11th place would beat Lotus getting 12th-13th all season.

      Only thing is they need a fast driver in the other seat, not sure Liuzzi provides that.

      1. Sorry, by Lotus I mean Caterham XD

  12. Well, i didn’t see this coming either. As others have mentioned it seems like an intelligent move for the team and all things considered probably the best move, but personally i would have rather seen a fresh name in the sport rather than a 40 year old Pedro De La Rosa. It’s not a prospect that excites me, but i’m sure he’ll do just fine.

  13. WOW…..I did NOT see this one coming. Do hope it is at the expense of Liuzzi, and not of Ricciardo.

    1. I don´t know whats going to happen, but it certanly doesn´t look good for the Toro Rosso guys #poorbuemi , now HRT only has one seat, and I´m not sure that RBR Jr program is gonna pay for this seat as it did this year. Liuzzi is not a pay driver as long as I know and If I´m correct Riccardo have being doing ok againts him. So maybe they will drop Liuzzi and keep Riccardo….

      Te other choice is keep Alguersauri, give the other Toro Rosso to Riccardo, and leave Vergne as test driver.

      Sadly the one driver I see going is Buemi,even so I think his results have been damage for poblems with the car, more than pace in race… #poorbuemi

      And Liuzzi was another RBR Jr so it seem that RBR is going something good, at least given young drivers a chance to get into F1…

      I understand why some people are ok with this move but I´ll will be more confortable if a young driver were to get this seat… is not like HRT is gonna get the money to do a lot of development, and if the reason was sponsorship they will have done more getting a young driver like Clos or Alguersauri on the seat if they want some spanish money…

      1. Read some strong rumours of both STR drivers being dropped for next year. Maybe Jaime can apply for a job at spanish equipe HRT as well?

        1. As much as it will help the driver program. Wouldn’t that just be stabbing themselves in the back?

  14. I think de la Rosa is a sensible choice for HRT, but I recon he is favoured not only for his experience but also the fact he is Spanish and the team said that they wanted a more Spanish focus, so in many ways, its cynical.

    However, I think he’ll benefit the team hugely and good luck to him

  15. So does this mean Ricciardo is on the move to Toro Rosso?

    1. Not at all. He could partner de la Rosa. Or he could be dropped entirely.

      1. Australia will love that… Mark maybe leaving bext year and Riccardo being drop…

        1. The commentators would make a big deal of it … but I don’t think anyone else would care too much.

          1. @Prisoner monkeys do you really believe they will drop Riccardo?

  16. Wow, biggest surprise of the morning for me. Glad to see him race again!

  17. I think this is a good sign. first ever 2-year contract shows that HRT is more stable than ever and they want to establish the team. of course it’s a bad news for Liuzzi who is considered almost same role.

    1. But it seems Tonio signed a 2 year deal with them last year, so that would make HRTs line up complete for next year!

  18. I think de la Rosa might have a lot to bring to HRT. Having the role of reserve (test) driver at McLaren, which is a front-running team, de la Rosa might come with some tips about design and aerodynamics for next year. I think Ricciardo will get booted off HRT but not out of Formula 1. I see a bright future for both Ricciardo and de la Rosa

  19. I do believe that his experience as a Mclaren test driver will help the team to move forward but the question is by how much? Will they be able to fight in the mid-field in the coming two years? One way I do think it is a good move for the team as they need someone like him who is motivated & car work for the team,as a Spanish driver he shouldn’t be having trouble communicating with the team.

  20. I like to think that Hispania decide their driver line-ups with one of these.

  21. Im very surprised to see how long hrt run without any spanish driver especially accounting Pedro De La Rosa huge experience, now if Riccardo joins Toro Rosso as planned hopefully we might see finnally the first women in F1.

    1. now if Riccardo joins Toro Rosso as planned hopefully we might see finnally the first women in F1.

      … Huh?

    2. @UKFan I echo @prisoner-monkeys sentiments.

      Maria Teresa de Filippis?
      Lella Lombardi?
      Divina Galica?
      Desiré Wilson?
      Giovanna Amati?

      1. There was a rumour going around that Maria de Villota was being considered for Hispania, but she’s not ready (and she’s probably too old). The strange thing about Hispania is that if there is a rumour about a particular driver joining the team that turns out to be true, then it usually gets confirmed within a few days. The suggestion that de la Rosa would join Hispania only came up this past week.

        1. did anyone predict Karthikeyan?

      2. Please can we have a woman in F1, the missus is constantly on my case about the boys club that is my favourite waste of time. BTW, has any woman been close to a drive?

        1. @thecollaroyboys How about my list of 5 women who have actually entered Grands Prix before?

        2. @thecollaroyboys

          Please can we have a woman in F1

          Who would you recommend? Danica Patrick?

          There will be a woman in Formula 1 when there is a woman who is competitive enough. I know that sounds sexist, but it’s not. The twenty-four best drivers (and they are judged on more than their talent) will compete in Formula 1. To put someone who is not in that twenty-four – man or woman – would be a mistake.

          1. I agree, and I´m a woman. If the woman is not good and it gets in F1 only because gender will hurt the chances of really talented women getting a good seat on F1…

            And Danica Patrick is no good…

  22. Glad to see Don Pedrito back at it!!!! Hope HRT use all his experience and convert them into results!!!!

    1. When you say Don Pedrito, it sounds to me like he is even older than he is… it sounds like somebody´s “abuelo”

  23. I’m surprised by the generally positive reaction on this site so far; given the number of times I have heard calls for Trulli et al. to move over for younger drivers, I had expected more people to voice my sentiment, which is: groan…

    De la Rosa never impressed me when he was racing, and now, at 40, he will bound to be even slower.

    In general, I do not put much stock into the ‘driver as developer, team leader, etc.’ notion (which annoys me in the same way that Eric Bouillier complains about the lack of leadership qualities in his drivers – you should be the team leader, Eric), as I think a team is better off with a driver that can drive the car as fast as possible, and let the engineers analyse the data. Granted, HRT may have fewer analysis and development resources, so there might be a bigger role for the driver, but is that really going to make up for the second a lap that De la Rosa will be slower on track?

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Pedro de la Rosa, I just don’t see him as being up to F1 standard anymore, but he may prove me wrong, of course.

    1. @AdrianMorse I think in the case of Trulli he’s been beaten by Kovalainen over two seasons now, and he’s more than a little long in the tooth.

      De la Rosa may have only made his debut two years after Trulli, but since then he’s only actually done three full seasons (plus most of the 2001 and 2010 seasons, and a few more races here and there).

      Having said all that, would I rather the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean or Lucas di Grassi had seats in F1? Yes I would.

  24. Surprising news! Good news, though. I will be even more surprised if he stays there for 2 years but that’s the cynical guy inside me talking.

    I would like to think they could market themselves to Spain a bit more now but I can’t see De La Rosa attracting much on the sponsorship front.

  25. Probably a stupid question, but I cant see it coivered anywhere.
    This is a RACE DRIVING contract is it? not a TESTING Contract.

    1. Normally if a driver is being appointed as a “test” driver, they are referred to as a “third driver” or “reserve driver”, such as when de la Rosa returned to McLaren in that capacity earlier this year.

      HRT haven’t done that here – the release says “HRT takes a further step forward by announcing that Pedro de la Rosa will be a driver for the team next season.” In that context I doubt this is anything other than a straight race contract. If it were to turn out otherwise the media release would look awfully misleading and you’d question why it doesn’t make clear this is a testing contract.

      After all, “testing drivers” don’t get to do much more than sit on the prat perch on Friday these days.

      1. Besides, there is absolutely no logic in Pedro leaving a test contract at McLaren for a test contract at Hispania. I think it’s much more likely that he netted a large amount of sponsorship money and exchanged it for a proper race seat – subject of course to those sponsors continuing to pay whatever the agreed amount is.

        That said, Hispania’s drivers do seem to have a good record of getting some races at the team irrespective of initial status, which would itself cover some bases. I just don’t think that’s what Hispania is doing here.

  26. Well I wasn’t expecting to see this when I logged on this morning. I think it is a wise move finally from HRT to get someone with experience from a team who have won races and championships recently. Yes de la Rosa hasn’t been in a full time spot with McLaren but he has been a test driver for them and will give the team a lot of knowledge from this.

    I think for de la Rosa it isn’t a great move and he will be trundling around at the back of the grid for what is surely his last two years in F1.

    I hope this works and HRT can move a little further up the grid but I doubt it will.

  27. Maybe Pedro de la Rosa has a bigger plan in mind, after driving for a couple of years. Martin Brundle tweeted this yesterday:

    Must admit when I saw Pedro DLR to HRT I immediately assumed it was to run team. Can fully understand his desire to race if poss, great guy

    1. Now De La Rosa F1…that team name has a ring to it :D

  28. I’ve got to say, this is very risky. He could be a very good development driver and know the insides of the car better than the outsides but there’s no point having that if he is not quick on the race track. Although he cannot be slower than Narian he could be slower than the rest of the lower drivers. His last race was obviously this year and he did alright given that he didn’t have the teams over alls to start off with. He finished 12th but that was with a quicker car. I say it’s fairly risky.

  29. It’s funny, I’ve just remembered – back when the team was known as Campos Meta-1 in 2009, Pedro de la Rosa was the favourite to race for them with backing from Telefonicia, and an annoucement was expected at the 2009 European Grand Prix. In fact, I recall that de la Rosa was widely believed to have signed a contract with the team, but the race in Valencia came and went without a word. No doubt he realised that the team was little more than six guys with a CAD program holed up in a warehouse outside Barcelona (as Colin Kolles bluntly described them), and quickly lost interest.

  30. So next years team mates will be?

    McLaren: Hamilton/Button
    Ferrari: Alonso/ ?
    Renault: ?/?
    Red Bull: Vettel/?
    Mercedes GP: Rosberg/MSC
    Force India: Di Resta/Hulk?
    Williams: Barrichello?/?
    Toro Rosso: Buemi/Alguesuari?
    Sauber: Kobayashi/Perez?
    Lotus: Kovalainen/Trulli?
    HRT: De La Rosa/?
    Virgin: Glock/?

    1. Massa is already confirmed by Dominicalli and Montezola… so at least for next year he will be at Ferrari…

  31. Pedro’s a great guy. Normally, I’d say this is a waste of a seat, but I can see this will be very helpful for HRT.

  32. Shows some sort of ambition for HRT, even if he is slow (which I doubt), Hispania effectively get 20 more test sessions with one of the best testers around, very sensible move I think.

  33. I think this is smart from HRT. De La Rosa isn’t a particularly bad race driver, and has had a few noteworthy drives over the years. However, he’s obviously being hired for his development experience. He was invaluable to Sauber last season (remember how he transformed that dog of a car?) and could well be just the man to turn the HRT operation around.

    Any anyway, if he runs at the back in an HRT, what’s changed!?

    1. remember how he transformed that dog of a car?

      No, but I do remember him losing several results because it broke down on him.

  34. Britalian Stallion
    25th November 2011, 20:19

    So who could be his team mate?

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