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Offered a new lease of F1 life after HRT, Pedro de la Rosa has talked of his pride in being recruited by Ferrari as its development driver.
The Spanish veteran, who has enjoyed stints with Arrows, Prost, Jaguar and Sauber, and seven seasons with McLaren as test driver, looked to be on his way out of F1 following the demise of the HRT team at the end of 2012.
However, in a surprise move, the 41-year-old was recently names as Development Driver at Ferrari and will get to drive the team's 2013 car during the forthcoming test at Jerez - unlike countryman Fernando Alonso.
Attending a promotional event in Madrid, and sporting the colours of his new team, Pedro talked of his pride in being recruited by the Italian legends.
"I am proud and very happy, mainly because Ferrari is more than just a Formula 1 team," he said. "I'm starting a new phase of my life: for a driver it's important to work with the big teams, especially because you can learn from the best engineers and professionals in this sport. I am proud that Ferrari had faith in me, especially as it means I will be able to help a Spanish champion, in the shape of Fernando Alonso."
Despite only being on the payroll for two weeks, de la Rosa is already coming to terms with the intense pressure at Maranello. "It's logical, because it's a team that is used to winning," he said. "In Formula 1, whether it comes from below or from elsewhere, pressure is total, but definitely, I immediately saw that, at Ferrari, winning is the only thing that matters.
"Every time I go to Maranello there is something to learn and it's a continual experience. Even if I cannot say much, because I have only known Ferrari for a short time, I can say that, at least once in your life, you have to go to Maranello. I'm not talking about the factory, but rather the city: it's there that you start to understand the difference between a team like Ferrari and all the others, because you already feel as though you are pretty much within the company. Every restaurant, bar or person on the street has something red: it's really impressive!
Looking ahead to Friday's launch and then next week's test, he said: "I've seen the new car in the factory, as it is being prepared for the first test. I am very happy to be able to test it and honestly I had not expected that. It's a unique opportunity to begin to understand how the car works and how I can help with the work in the simulator."
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