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Official: de la Rosa rejoins McLaren

NEWS STORY
09/03/2011

McLaren has announced that Pedro de la Rosa has returned to the team as its official test and reserve driver.

Working closely with the Woking outfit's race and test teams for seven seasons, the Spaniard helped develop cars that won 29 grands prix and, most memorably, the 2008 drivers' world championship with Lewis Hamilton.

De la Rosa has driven 84 grands prix for Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren and Sauber, but it is as a test driver that his experience, expertise, discipline and communications skills have been most notably brought to bear - qualities that have always been very highly prized by his team-mates.

Indeed, motor racing statisticians may be interested to learn that the Spaniard has driven a mammoth 361 Formula 1 test days in his long career - fourth on the all-time list behind only Luca Badoer (469), Alex Wurz (382) and Jarno Trulli (381) - encompassing 22,763 laps and 104,248 kilometres.

The Woking team will also be retaining the services of 2005 German Touring Car (DTM) champion and 2002 German Formula 3 champion Gary Paffett. The Englishman will dovetail his McLaren test and development commitments in 2011 with a full racing campaign for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series.

Although he will therefore no longer attend grands prix during what promises to be the most intense Formula 1 season in the history of the sport, encompassing races on five continents, he will work for McLaren away from the world's racetracks to ensure that we maintain its high standards of race simulation and vehicle engineering - increasingly important areas of development given the lack of in-season track running.

"Of all the teams I've driven for in Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the one that really feels like home," said de la Rosa. "So I'm very excited about returning to the team to help push the development of the MP4-26.

"Lewis and Jenson already have an extremely positive and productive working relationship - so, building on and adding to their existing rapport, I'm aiming to do everything I can to help them get even more from our car, our engineers and our technical resources back at the McLaren Technology Centre."

"I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that I'm delighted that Pedro has chosen to return to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes," said Martin Whitmarsh. "He rejoins us with even greater experience, and his motivation and attention to detail remain as sharp as ever. His recruitment adds considerable strength in depth to our driver line-up.

"With two world champion race drivers in Lewis and Jenson, and two of the world's most experienced and capable development drivers in Pedro and Gary, we feel we have a quartet of talent that is absolutely second-to-none.

"Our partners - Vodafone, ExxonMobil, Santander, Johnnie Walker, Hugo Boss and all the others - are also delighted that, once again, they'll be able to draw on Pedro's readiness to involve himself with marketing programmes during grand prix weekends, which he has always performed with enthusiasm and skill.

"Meanwhile, we wish Gary a very successful season in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz - and are delighted that, away from the world's racetracks, he'll continue to give us the benefit of his considerable technical and developmental abilities."

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