I didn’t see it coming, but it is a great decision. First of all, they have a Spanish representative, which is what they aimed for. Second of all, as @enigma mentioned, his technical expertise will be a major boost for the team. HRT should retain Liuzzi or pick up Barrichello because an experienced line-up would be crucial if they want to establish a successful future and have young Spanish drivers in their cockpits. De la Rosa’s tenure with the team will pave the way for drivers like Dani Clos and Javier Villa to join by 2013.
On a side note, it’ll be interesting to see if Daniel Juncadella gets an HRT seat in 2013 or 2014. He won the Macau Grand Prix this year (probably his only notable achievement so far) and he seems to have a guaranteed future HRT seat. This is because he is the nephew of ex-Minardi pilot Luis Perez-Sala, who is currently the sporting director for HRT. As HRT’s new-look Thesan Management group are interested in a future “Spanish dream team” Juncadella, a Spaniard, must be an option for the team in the near future. Plus, he has lucrative funding from the Kazakh goverment consortium Astana, which also sponsors a famous cycling team. Having a Kazakh-backed driver for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix would be a smart move, as Russo-Kazakh ties have been gaining strength. HRT, not the most sponsor-attractive team, would benefit from Kazakh sponsorhip.