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Formula 1 7

Pedro de la Rosa signs as Ferrari test driver

Drivers typically have just a single shot at Formula 1, or else none at all, but then there’s Pedro de la Rosa. Left without a race seat when HRT folded at the end of last season, the Spaniard is now a paid-up Ferrari employee. Quite a bonus when you’re about to turn 42, but scarcely a first: Juan Manuel Fangio was a couple of years older when he first contested a world championship Grand Prix for the Scuderia, at Buenos Aires in 1956.

It’s unlikely that de la Rosa will get anywhere near a race seat. Rather, he will join compatriot Marc Gené on simulator duty – and in that respect he’s a shrewd acquisition. He has dipped in and out of F1 during the 14 years since he made his race debut with Arrows, starting 104 Grands Prix for five different teams and recording a single podium finish, when he took his McLaren to second place in the 2006 Hungarian GP. At the time he was subbing for the NASCAR-bound Juan Pablo Montoya – and patience has been his trademark. He spent eight seasons as linchpin of McLaren’s test and reserve team, but methodology acquired there will be useful to both sides as he embraces a similar role with Ferrari.

f1  Pedro de la Rosa signs as Ferrari test driver

To put the Spaniard’s staying power in context, recent Sauber signing Esteban Gutiérrez had only recently celebrated his first birthday when de la Rosa underlined his potential by winning both British and European Formula Renault titles in 1992.

The two would have competed against each other this year too, had HRT not crumbled, because de la Rosa had a firm race contract. He was recruited to use his vast experience to guide the team and mould it into an effective unit, but ultimately its greatest need proved to be financial rather than technical.

It was a short-lived challenge he tackled with relish – never more so than in Monaco last May, where he described his qualifying lap as “without a doubt the best” he had ever completed around the principality. It translated to no more than 21st on the grid, between the two Marussias, but from where he was sitting it felt almost as good as pole – and his smile told you as much.

The spotlight tends to focus only on those at the front, but you’ll often find sunshine in the shadows.

f1  Pedro de la Rosa signs as Ferrari test driver

Add your comments

7 comments on Pedro de la Rosa signs as Ferrari test driver

  1. Bill, 18 January 2013 10:48

    The only thing left to do, is change the name Ferrari into ‘Alonso’.

  2. Uncle Iberian, 18 January 2013 10:49

    PdLR rocks. Whenever I attend an F1 test – he’s there testing, for sure, y’know. I call “astral connection”, hopefully I’ll catch a glimpse of Pedro in red who won’t be dancing with me, but rather around Ferrari cars in the garage.

  3. Piero Dessimone, 18 January 2013 18:24

    Another poor example of Ferrari looking to italian drivers or to foreign drivers with a potential for the future.
    Maybe they should change the name into Santander.

  4. dave cubbedge, 18 January 2013 21:57

    Great news for him, he’ll be testing a top-line F1 car, surely financial compensation is right, plus the fringe benefits….ask Fisi, any job at Ferrari carries its’ priviliges.

  5. Chris Hall, 19 January 2013 01:03

    Who remembers Ivan Arias ( & his model cars ) ? PdlR contemporary , possibly more talented but didn’t have the commercial possibilities. Welcome Simon & good luck to Altrincham, a team that doesn’t need Ol* Traffor* refereeing bias to win games !!!!

  6. chris b, 19 January 2013 12:55

    Pedro always struck me as a thoroughly decent driver an exceptional tester and a really good bloke a decent acquisition for any team,

  7. Bill, 19 January 2013 15:53

    I agree there is no question Pedro is a great guy.

    I saw a pic of Alonso and Fisichella on the formers twitter account, and he described him also as a great friend. Amazing how many drivers actually get along very well with Fernando. Good for him.

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