Pedro de la Rosa to join HRT in 2012

2012 F1 season

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

  1. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 22nd November 2011, 1:40

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

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd November 2011, 1:43

    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.

  3. 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

  4. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd November 2011, 2:15

    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.

  5. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd November 2011, 2:36

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

  6. UKFan (@) said on 22nd November 2011, 3:02

    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.

  7. Amaury (@joematers) said on 22nd November 2011, 6:56

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

  8. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 22nd November 2011, 7:31

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd November 2011, 8:25

      @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.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd November 2011, 7:40

    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.

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

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd November 2011, 8:43

      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.

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:10

        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.

  11. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 22nd November 2011, 9:06

    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.

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

    MBrundleF1
    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

  13. rdpunk (@) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:24

    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.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:33

    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.

  15. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 22nd November 2011, 12:02

    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/?

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