Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa has revealed he had options also to sign a deal with Mercedes or McLaren for the 2013 season.
The 42-year-old Spaniard left his role as McLaren’s respected test and reserve driver at the end of 2011 to return to the grid with HRT.
When HRT folded at the end of last season, de la Rosa was snapped up by Ferrari as the Maranello based team vows to develop the best driver simulator in Formula 1.
But it is rumoured that his old McLaren teammate, Lewis Hamilton, also pushed hard for Mercedes team management to sign de la Rosa as test driver for 2013.
“It’s true,” de la Rosa confirmed to Marca sports newspaper.
“Lewis has also confirmed it, otherwise I wouldn’t say,” he insisted. “I don’t want to say any more, but I talked seriously about being at Mercedes.
“It is also true that the first person I called when I signed for Ferrari is Martin Whitmarsh, because of the relationship that I have with McLaren.
“He was surprised and said ‘It looks like we were too slow’,” said de la Rosa.
Asked how he ultimately made up his mind between Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, he revealed: “I said in my head that if I am continuing in Formula 1 as a test driver, I want to be at Ferrari.
“Otherwise it was more of the same; I had done it.
“Mercedes was attractive because the team is changing and it is a challenge, but McLaren would have been more of the same — an organisation in which everything works already.”
Asked which personal link – Fernando Alonso, Pat Fry or Santander’s Emilio Botin – ultimately tipped the scales in Ferrari’s favour, de la Rosa answered: “I don’t know, honestly.
“I think you should ask them.”