Spanish Formula One veteran Pedro De la Rosa has joined Ferrari in a development role with the team for the 2013 season, the Italian F1 team announced on Wednesday at the annual Philip Morris backed media event in the Dolomites resort of Madonna di Campiglio.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali also told reporter that Ferrari will launch their 2013 car at the Maranello factory on 1 February, ahead of the first pre-season test starts at Jerez track on 5 February, in southern Spain.
De la Rosa, 41, raced for the financially-strapped HRT team, which is now absent from this year’s starting line-up after failing to find a buyer, last season. Before that, he was a McLaren test driver for eight seasons.
The move reunites him with compatriot Fernando Alonso, the double world champion who was runner-up in the championship last year for Ferrari, after they were together at McLaren in 2007 in Alonso’s sole season with that team.
“We decided to add De La Rosa to our group of drivers mainly to strengthen one area, namely work in the simulator, which with the current regulations regarding testing, is becoming ever more important,” said Domenicali. “Pedro therefore joins a group of drivers that already includes Davide Rigon, Marc Gene, Andrea Bertolini and Jules Bianchi. Regarding the latter, who is also part of the FDA, we are currently trying to find him a role in F1 and when we have some news, we will let you know.”
De la Rosa declared, “It is amazingly motivating to be working for a team like Ferrari, not just because of what it represents in the history of F1 and motoring in general, but also because it will be a completely new and very stimulating experience for me.
“I really hope I can get to work as soon as possible and to help in the development of the car. I am happy to be collaborating with Fernando again and also to be working with Felipe. There’s not much time until Australia, but there is a lot to do and I am available to help the team from right now,” added the Spaniard.
De la Rosa, born in Cardedeu on 24 February 1971, has taken part in 106 grands prix, racing for five different teams (Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren, Sauber and HRT,) with his best result being a second place in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. He has scored a total of 35 championship points.
Ferrari also have Spaniard Marc Gene as a development driver, but De La Rosa will focus more on work with the simulator.
“Your experience with the simulator will be fantastic for the team. Great news,” said Gene on his Twitter feed. (Reuters & Apex)
Subbed by AJN.