Pedro de la Rosa makes F1 comeback with BMW Sauber

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pedro de la Rosa joins BMW Sauber after seven years with McLaren
Pedro de la Rosa joins BMW Sauber after seven years with McLaren

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.
Peter Sauber

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

Pedro de la Rosa at the BMW Sauber factory
Pedro de la Rosa at the BMW Sauber factory

Image (C) BMW Sauber

60 comments on “Pedro de la Rosa makes F1 comeback with BMW Sauber”

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  1. It’s a bad decision and de la Rosa will fail to impress. He must be bringing money to the team. He had his chance the year he deputised for Montoya and had the opportunity to actually win a GP for McLaren that season and couldnt get the job done. He is a very good tester and development driver, but so is Heidfeld. De la Rosa deserves a place in F1 but on the development side only. Politics are at play here. F1 business as usual. Kind of disapointing.

    1. Kimi couldn’t win with that McLaren either, it was a dog… I always thought Pedro did fairly well under the circumstances (and in Bahrain 2005 he was brilliantly entertaining) considering he hadn’t been racing for a few seasons.

      Heidfeld would have been faster yes, but he would probably have only stayed there for a year and then tried to move on to a better team. DLR will give a decent amount of commitment (and possibly sponsors) to Sauber while passing off his experience to Kobayashi.

  2. Alex Wurz once described PDR as the most shrewd f1 driver he ever met while both were at McLaren. He was always stabbing him in the back just to have his way. That explains why he stayed so long with McLaren. And evidently he was involved in the spy-gate saga :(

    I dont like such people actually …… my 2c

  3. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
    19th January 2010, 15:46

    Ok, here is my bet. PDR will be way quicker than that japo guy. You know? He was a Nippon formula champion, so he knows how to crush that japan way of drive…. :-) Seriously. He will beat Kobayashi hands down. Maybe next year, with more experience in his bag, Koba can be a truly rival.

    My bet.

  4. Diego Medeiros
    19th January 2010, 16:43

    I’m really disappointed with Sauber about his choice. I guess that the best option would Nick Heidfeld, or, maybe Fisichella. De La Rosa did nothing impressive on his career on F1. I believe he will be the new “Luca Badoer”.

    1. Luca Badoer never made a 2nd place in race,or even 5th,Pedro De la Rosa yes,this is the little diference my friend,.

      PD:Also made a 6th place “with Arrows” in her first race in F1.


  5. I like this choice. Maybe Fisichella would have been a better choice, if they are going with Ferrari engines, but I like the idea of giving PDLR the opportunity. Even though Heidfeld may have been faster, he has become too safe a driver. Many times I have seen him not make a move at opportune times.

    I think the Sauber team will standout team this year, so it will be interesting to see how this selection allows that to unfold. Interesting 2010.

  6. Pedro!!!! Pedro the best!!

    1. Hello :D January 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm
      Pedro!!!! Pedro the best!!

      In what exactly? In testing?

  7. Oh…final thought, and I think someone previously mentioned this. I would guess the good news is that now its Heidfeld to USF1?!! Yippee!!!

  8. now that my two fave drivers are in the same team, i am now officially a Sauber supporter!

  9. Pedro never had the chance to show his potential, so this is his last hurrah. The strategy of bringing in a driver with vast testing and setup experience to team with a 2 race rookie is necessary and pragmatic. The Swiss are nothing if not efficient and practical.

    I expect Kobayashi to use Pedro’s setups and then consistently outperform him.

  10. We’ve been told some weeks ago, PDLR was dealing with Campos/meta and they didn’t reach an agreement because Pedro was bringing no one sponsorship with him.

    But now, universia is sponsoring him, and sounds not quite improbale; B Santander was behind universia sponsoring Alonso when he was in Renault, so maybe B Santander has moved that budget to Pedro.

    Anyway, seems to me Sauber it’s just looking for a test driver to develope the car… And who knows if some good McLaren’s Technical info!!

  11. “Peter Sauber expects de la Rosa’s experience to aid Kobayashi, who has made jsut two F1 starts:”

    Typo in “just” Keith.

    I think this is a solid pickup for both sides. Pedro gets a ride that I really think will compete for points, and Sauber gets a driver that is very capable of driving an F1 car.

    1. Fixed it now thanks.

    2. i agree. same way of thinking of sir frank williams, with barrichello and hulkenberg.

  12. Congrats Pedro, it seems that the testing ban has made him want to go racing again!

    hey Nick, i hope you have something that we dont know about because the options are running out

  13. will he still be testing the new McLaren then?

  14. ……”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″…..

    Lets not forget that Sauber had previously sacked Nick Heidfeld.

  15. Wow, didn’t see that coming ! I thought Quick Nick was a shoo in for the seat. I hope he gets a drive somewhere else, as I would be disappointed not to see him in F1 this year.

    Not entirely sold on PDLR. I can credit that he is a great tester & good for car set up, but racing? Not sure about that. Wouldn’t it have been better then to have him as the tester?

  16. He WILL be the tester, and be available with hopefully insightful feedback all season long on how to improve the car. Maybe another driver could generate more points, but if also brings needed cash it will be a win-win for the team.

  17. “Dependable” test driver? He was a sensation for McLaren. Great Sauber decision.

  18. BMW Sauber? Isnt it just Sauber now?
    Now, what will Heidfeld do next year, USf1 maybe?
    Peter Windsor used to rate him high when he was a journalist.

  19. Go Pedro, go.

  20. Mystery solved, Santander are sponsoring him.

    De LaRosa is by no means a bad pick for an experienced/rookie partnership, and he brings a lot of McLaren and Ferrari information ^H^H^H^H errrr… “development experience” with him. I’d expect him to do a good job in the races, and do wonders for Sauber with development and developing Kobayashi. Certainly a much better pick than Badoer was.

    As has been pointed out above, it’s amazing how few brits are on the grid given how they dominate the actual team landscape – but British companies don’t seem to want to sponsor any sportsman who’s not already winning. It falls to European companies to really push young drivers and support a range of drivers. Anthony Davidson must be sick right now.

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