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De la Rosa bags second Sauber seat
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De la Rosa bags second Sauber seat
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Jan 2010   |  12:05 pm GMT  |  107 comments

Pedro de la Rosa has pulled off a major coup and landed the second seat at BMW Sauber. He will be team mate of exciting rookie Kamui Kobayashi.

Picture 14
For the 38 year old Spaniard it is a case of third time lucky, having had one career with Arrows and Jaguar and then a brief cameo as a McLaren driver when the team dropped Juan Pablo Montoya in 2006. “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver,” said De la Rosa.

Sauber has been looking to hit the right balance between a driver with some money and one who can bring real racing benefits to the team. De la Rosa did not have the largest backing of the potentials out there nor is he the fastest of the options Sauber had. He has around €1 million budget from Universia, which is a foundation set up by Banco Santander. Sauber has clearly hired him for his technical ability, which will help Kobayashi to fulfil his maximum potential.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said Peter Sauber “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.. progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa was outstanding in the junior categories but never quite translated that into performance in F1. He raced for Arrows in 1999 and 2000 and then drove for Jaguar in 2001 and 2002. He became a test driver for McLaren and held that role until this announcement. He raced nine times for McLaren, the highlight being second place behind Jenson Button in the 2006 Hungarian GP, the race where he had a set to with Michael Schumacher.

Sauber will unveil the new car and drivers in Valencia on 31 January.

Like Schumacher De la Rosa will stand out among his peers as a pretty old driver, and the dynamic in drivers briefings will be interesting as De la Rosa was very critical of Schumacher after he was charged with deliberately blocking the track in qualifying Monaco that same year.

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107 Comments
  1. Proesterchen says:

    I don’t get it. Why sign this has-been, when you can get a Heidfeld or Fisichella?

    Stupid move, or stupid money. My bet is on the former.

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    1. Benni says:

      There’s a possibility that Heidfeld will race for Renault this year. If I were him I would definitely choose Renault over Sauber.

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    2. Martin P says:

      Because this guy has played in a huge part in the development of Championship contending and winning cars at McLaren for almost a decade. That knowledge seems pretty useful to me. He’s already getting some Ferrari input via engine supply, but Fisi is no position to bring comparable knowledge with him.

      As for Heidfeld… he’s worth more. Hopefully Renault will realise he’s at least a match for Kubica and keep the pairing.

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    3. Paul F says:

      Sauber is notoriously astute with his driver choices, therefore I presume this pairing makes the most sense overall (experience/speed/technical knowledge/sponsorship money etc, etc…) With the direction the sport is heading, I don’t think it is realistic for a team that doesn’t have the initial budget, nor income from results, to simply look for drivers that are overall the fastest.

      It’s very easy for us to sit behind our computers and think “ooh Heidfeld should have got that seat, he’s much faster, etc”, but ultimately Sauber has a business to build and then keep alive, and the driver choice has to be governed by this.

      If it’s true that there’s only 3 tenths separating the best and worst in the elite F1 grid, I can see how in lots of cases a driver with financial backing can be constitute a greater income than the difference a driver can make in results.

      This obviously only applies to teams who are barely battling for points of course…

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    4. Darren says:

      I thought all THREE of them were considered has-beens 😛

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    5. Lustigson says:

      From a Ferrari perspective, it’s much better to have a former McLaren-Mercedes tester on the books, even if it’s at a customer team, who can share experience on both a competitor’s car and his engine, than to have your own test driver having to learn all about said engine from scratch.

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      1. Michael C says:

        good point – but i suspect – in the words of Dads Army – its going to be a case of ‘Whata mistaka to maka’ – at least Peter Sauber knew what he was getting with Heidfeld – someone near the same orbit as Kubica

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      2. Lustigson says:

        That’s actually from ‘Allo ‘Allo, but I know what you mean. 😉

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      3. Michael C says:

        sorry quite right – senior moment – whata mistaka to maka!

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    6. Malcolm says:

      Probably money, combined with experience in development. Pedro has a lot of experience in making a car better, so I could see that being a major selling point.

      It’s not a bad balance between money and talent.

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    7. Jeremy says:

      Heidfeld or Fisichella are has been as well.

      Who has more experience in a top level team with years of testing under their belt? The experience he has is unmatched with the rest of the “available” drivers.

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    8. Pablo Rossi says:

      Agreed. Out of the three choices, Heidfeld was a no-brainer in my opinion. At least Kobayashi should be happy!

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    9. Peter Freeman says:

      Heidfeld is a better driver than de la Rosa by miles. Period. Stupid move.

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  2. James W says:

    Well, a suprise I have to say. I was almost sure that Fisichella would be there!

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  3. Ilanin says:

    Does that now mean that the first day of testing in the MP4/25, previously revealed by Button to have been De La Rosa, will now fall to Gary Paffet given that Pedro will likely be in a Sauber?

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    1. Pat says:

      I hope so & I hope McLaren sign Paul di Resta to replace De La Rosa. :) True Brit Pack !

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      1. James W says:

        di Resta was apparantly 90% sure he would be with Force India a couple of weeks ago…

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      2. James Allen says:

        As a third driver…

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  4. Mike T says:

    James,

    IF pedro was meant to drive the new Mclaren on the first day (jenson said at the Autosport show) does that mean Mclaren will have to use Gary P for the first day? or even Lewis/Jenson share the 3 days?

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  5. Kati says:

    Would it be an attempt to sum the Ferrari data that comes with the engines with the McLaren data that comes with Pedro?

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  6. Pierre says:

    Just proves Sauber needs money, and if Kobayashi has some difficult first races, it could be a difficult season for him.

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    1. alex says:

      Just proves Sauber needs money? Are you serious?
      Pedro is giving just 1 mill. He brings more technical experience than money

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      1. Pierre says:

        I am serious, alex!
        • 1 million is better than zero million.
        • Fisichella and Heidfled (even if it seems he could go for the 3rd Mercedes seat) are more experienced than him. They have raced these last 3 years which Pedro has not. They too have raced for top teams. They too bring technical experience, they too know how to develop a race car.
        • Pedro hasn’t drove much the car last year.
        • Pedro is taller than both Heidfled and Fisichella. A small driver always suits better for the car settings.
        • And I think Heidfleld and Fisichella are better and faster than him.
        So my only possible conclusion is that Peter Sauber is looking for money (that makes even more sens from the Petronas move to Mercedes…), which Heidfleld and Fisi have not (I’m pretty sure Ferrari is already providing its engines to his old friend Sauber for a cheap price, to help him, as they must know the situation of the team is difficult).

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  7. I was also almost sure PDLR was out of the picture and GF would be driving there. Now I wonder if the Italian will remain as a Ferrari reserve driver and whether Heidfeld will find a place for him in 2010.

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  8. Fil says:

    A good, balanced signing for Sauber to counter the youth and inexperience of Kobayashi.

    No doubt Pedro’s knowledge of McLaren will come in handy for C29 development throughout 2010.

    James, will Pedro still run the MP4-25 in Valencia on Feb 1st as stated a few days ago?

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  9. I think this makes since for Fisi long term… If I was ending my racing career but wanted to continue driving then Ferrari is a good home. If he went to sauber, raced for a year chances once he retires he would drop off the planet and we would hardly hear of him again. I know he would rather race but long term he could have an amazing career at Ferrari testing, get used to the cat, perhaps take part in the odd race to cover injuries etc and have the chance to properly drive the Ferrari and prove himself.

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  10. Richard S says:

    Hi James!

    I’m a little surprised about this. Fisi would have surely been a better bet?! Do you think fast Nick could get the second renault seat? I hope so!

    P.S Love the blog always insightful. Do you think you might be back on the BBC coverage? You are sorely missed!!

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  11. Daniel says:

    Great report James!

    De La Rosa was scheduled to be the first person to test the new Mclaren…Do you think he’ll still do that, or will his new Sauber contract begin as of today?

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  12. Flintelli says:

    James,
    How will this affect McLarens testing programme in February. I thought he was the first one out of the bag.

    Surprised Fisi didn’t get the drive I must say.

    Your book is cracking by the way. Nice work.

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  13. Hairs says:

    De la Rosa is very highly rated as a test and technical driver. He’s not the worst race driver either, and tends to be consistant. That’s important when trying to work out if the rookie’s car is off the pace because of the rookie or the car.

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  14. Phil I says:

    Why is this referred to as BMW Sauber? I thought BMW were now gone completely? The engines are Ferrari so not even a link there? Have I missed something?

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    1. Williams4Ever says:

      FIA entry was still in name of BMW-Sauber. I guess this has to be attributed to draconian FIA rules, where new name will require loads of paperwork and possibly “fresh entry fee”.

      Racing series that “Claims” to be pinnacle of motorsports and boasts use of cutting edge technology to gain every nanosecond on the track is governed by rules that are from ages of horse driven carriages, So Ironic, So very F1 😀

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  15. Ben dziekan says:

    Believe it of not, F1 racing magazine once ran a feature article on De La Rosa titled “the best driver in the world”…

    Unfortunately this was based on the fact that at that time he was beating Eddie irvine, who during his Ferrari days claimed himself to be the second best in the world behind Schumi…

    All I can suggest is that Peter sauber is hoping Luca Badoer lands a seat at US F1 or Renault… At least that way DLR would have someone his own speed to race with!

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    1. jose says:

      c,mon. he is faster than badoer. The punches above the belt, please.

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    2. Joel Heaton says:

      I do wonder where you got that idea from. If you look back, Pedro has always been talented but circumstances have rarely favoured him. One in a decent car, in 2005 and 2006 subbing for Montoya, he pulled off some impressive performances, finishing not far behind Raikkonen at Bahrain in 2005 whilst also achieving the fastest lap of the race and then performing strongly in the latter half of the 2006 season and scoring that second-place finish at the chaotic race in Hungary.

      Whilst I would have preferred Heidfeld to get the seat, I am happy that Sauber has selected a talented, fast and experienced driver to partner Kobayashi for the 2010 season and I look forward to seeing some good results from the team.

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    3. Legend says:

      Hi Ben,

      I remember the article. I remember thinking what a rubbish attention seeking article it was too. The reality was, by and large, Eddie was comfortably outpacing Pedro. Eddie finished with 12 points vs Pedro with 3 points (or 28 vs 10 points using 2009 point scoring system), including two well driven podiums throughout their 30 races together.

      Irvine, Barrichello and Massa all occassionally had a race where they outpaced Schumacher. Does that make them the best drivers in the world?
      Pedro has had many opportunities to impress in races over the years, and has not done so. Let’s see what he makes of this latest opportunity.

      I think the person most happiest will be Kamui. He has a real opportunity now to be faster than an experienced team mate.

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  16. Iain M says:

    James,

    As McLaren had already announced that Pedro would complete the first test of the new year, has this news come as a bit of a suprise to them and do you think it will hamper their ability to develop the car at all over the testing period?

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  17. Fausto Cunha says:

    “We as a team stand to gain from his experience…”

    That´s why they sign with him, he was never fast
    in f1. They are interested on is experience and technical ability.

    I think Heidfeld was a better choice.

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  18. Silverstoned says:

    Good for Pedro. So Heidfeld rejoins his old teammate at Renault?

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  19. John F says:

    What does this say about Nick Heidfeld?

    That Sauber rates him less than Pedro? That Heidfeld didn’t had any funding?

    Could it be that Nick was never really an option for Sauber because he wasn’t available? Maybe Nick put all his eggs in the Renault basket?

    I hope he’s not looking into retirement.

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  20. Freespeech says:

    Hope he doesn’t know too much about this years McLaren ❗

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  21. Steve W says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t put Nick Heidfeld in the 2nd seat. I think money must have been a factor, as Heidfeld seems to also have a good technical ability, and has much more experience and pedigree in Grand Prix races that De la Rosa. Plus Heidfeld would have brought continuity having been with the team under it’s previous BMW ownership, and Sauber before that.

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    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      With you all the way on this one. Having said that, Pedro did put in some good efforts with Arrows, albeit 10 years ago.

      I hope Heidfeld does get a seat, and I guess the odds are on Renault, continuing his pairing with Kubica. If he’ll take a pay cut, he’d be great for one of the new teams, and I have a nagging feeling that Peter Windsor may yet scoop him up.

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  22. PaulL says:

    I’m surprised. He is a nice guy, though his performances alongside Kimi in 2006 seemed quite poor.

    Does anyone know if Jacques Villeneuve is virtually out of the running for a seat? I’d love to have 5 world champions in the 2010 field.

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  23. Carlm21 says:

    Well I’m glad this has happened. Pedro deserves the drive after years at Mclaren as a test driver. There was one race where he started near the back and overtook a handful of cars. Bahrain 2005 if I can remember correctly. The man can pull off an overtake like Lewis Hamilton. With him and Kobaysashi it will be- Overtaking at Sauber!

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  24. Lee Grant says:

    If you turn off the radio & TV and listen very hard, you can hear Anthony Davidson crying!

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    1. Pablo says:

      Yeah, I would love to see davidson in F1!

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      1. Pablo Rossi says:

        Me too, but on a selfish note I love listning to his commentry in the practices.

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      2. Pablo says:

        Well what about he drives and commentates at the same time??

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  25. Chris Bird says:

    Peter Saubers choice of driver for his new/old team just underlines his astute approach to Formula 1. Hampered by a lack of budget and uncertainty over a place on the grid his choice of peddlers for 2010 was severly limited. By choosing Kobayshi (the most exciting rookie since Hamilton) and the ‘safe pair of hands’ De la Rosa he has quietly picked the best available talent and more importantly the best mix of talent left to develop and then race the nuts off his 2010 challenger…Hats off to you Peter.

    James, Any further news about Kobayashi bringing the Toyota sponsors with him to Sauber?

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    1. jose says:

      i think he said panasonic, and a telecom company come with him. I heard nestle is with sauber, and if de la rosa stays another year, be sure some spanish sponsors will come. He is a very liked driver in spain, even more than alonso, just not as good. He was a comentator for la sexta tv.

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  26. George says:

    Well that’s a pleasant surprise, at least he has plenty of experience with the current car regs. Lets just hope he has the speed to match his technical know-how.

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  27. Jonathan Dye says:

    I guess after this announcement De la Rosa wont be taking the Mclaren out for its track debut on 1st Feb any more?!

    I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t go for ‘Quick (or at least moderately fast)’ Nick. I would have thought a bit of continuity within the team, his consistency in bringing the car home and his skills at developing the car would be valuable to Sauber.

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  28. Pat says:

    Repsol & maybe Telefonica money talking here….. the car will end up looking like a Racing Engineering GP2 car :(

    http://www.racing-engineering.com/en09/director/albums/album-1/lg/02b.jpg

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    1. Paul says:

      His money has come from Universia, which is a rival to some of Campos’s sponsors, hence why he hasn’t landed there. As far as I’m aware de la Rosa hasn’t been Repsol backed for some time now. Alguersuari is their man now (expect the new Toro Rosso livery to feature Repsol logos).

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  29. Didzis says:

    Everyone slams PDLR as a poor choice and it may really turn out that way. But in 2006 when he took over Montoya’s seat, he was not bad at all. Pointswise he was almost as good as Montoya and a lot more entertaining with his over enthusiastic driving.

    BTW When checking out 2006 season’s results I was shocked to “rediscover” that it was Nico Rosberg’s first season in F1. I never thought of him as having been in F1 for so long – he has this air of a “young and promising” driver.

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  30. Peter says:

    There is something to do with sponsorship money here, I think.

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  31. Adrian says:

    So that’s 3 teams with some money from Santander now then??

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  32. Andy says:

    Well I am suprised. I thought Fisi had it (to keep Ferrari sweet)

    However it is a good blend of developing the car and a calming influence compared to the out and out untamed ballsyness of Kamui.

    I am sure Sauber know what he is doing.

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  33. Sebee says:

    Good for Pedro. Yawn for us.

    Economy is tough, and indy teams like this one can’t always afford to give drives based on merit. I was sure that Fisi had the angle due to engines and long time link.

    Now the interesting question is – who do you think will be the first driver to not finish the season?

    And please don’t say you have to wait for 3rd race to be over. Anyone can make a good guess by then. If we’re going to speculate, let’s go all the way and do it based on current info – before a 2010 car comes to life.

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    1. Pablo Rossi says:

      Jamie Alguesari would be my guess. Thats even if he makes the grid. Although if Renault are brainless and give Grosjean the seat, then him without a doubt!!!

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  34. I thought that Heidfeld would be a sure bet for the seat – just shows what I know !

    €1m is nothing in F1 so it must be Pedro’s proven ability in car development and his encyclopedic knowledge of how a team like Mclaren works that won him the seat.

    Perhaps Heidfeld is not good at setting up and developing a car ?

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  35. Gareth says:

    Here here. Totally took me by surprise. I thought it would have been a no brainer to have Fisi. Or a reasonable choice to have Nick!

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  36. Jamie spit says:

    Someone critical of Schumacher? NEVER 😉

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    1. Rich C says:

      Hard to believe isn’t it!

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  37. david says:

    Comfortably the weakest driver line up so far announced for next year.

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    1. Paul says:

      Agreed. Kobayashi is no better than Nakajima, and will be shown the door to F1 within two years like Kazuki.

      de la Rosa was excellent for Arrows but since joining Jaguar never really fulfilled his potential. He had some decent races at McLaren but it was one of the best cars on the grid and he should have got more out of it.

      It will be the weakest lineup until USF1 and Campos confirm their drivers

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      1. Didzis says:

        >> He had some decent races at McLaren but it was one of the best cars on the grid and he should have got more out of it.

        I keep hearing something to this tune over and over again, but I don’t think it is true. Race results in 2006 show that he got at least as much out of ‘one of the best cars on the grid’ as Montoya did. I remember watching those final races of the 2006 season and PDLR was easily the most entertaining driver on the grid.
        I for one wish him well.

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  38. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion says:

    I’m waiting for you when PDR crushes the Jap driver, as he used to do when he won Nippon formula. Just remember what are you saying now. I will come back :-)

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  39. Eric Weinraub says:

    can you say ‘PAY DRIVER.’ Lets see what sponsors he puts on the car…Pedro Dinitz all over again…Pedro drover for Peter Sauber so we know that Peter ‘gets’ the whole pay driver thing.

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  40. Stu says:

    I’m sure they’ve signed him because he comes with free technical knowledge and will not waste a second wondering if he should share it.

    I can almost hear emails being sent now.

    I’m also wondering how this will effect McLarens testing. PDLR was the lead tester, now it’ll be up to the more inexperienced Paffet to set the car up ready for the ‘superstars’ to take over.

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    1. Paul says:

      Haha! Isn’t it amazing how his role in Spygate and what seemed like his obsession with the Ferrari data has been forgotten

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  41. Rob says:

    Seems a backward step to me,there must be better drivers out there.Interesting that they will be using Ferrari engines and technology,as he was one of the main people involved in the spying saga and got away scot free.

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  42. Olivier says:

    I am really surprised.

    I truly hope to see Heidfeld at Renault.

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  43. I can only think its a budget thing. I just feel so sorry for Ant Davidson, and possibly Heidfeld if he doensn’t get a chance. I’ll be amazed if DLR isn’t a low wattage returnee like Wurz was, and to some extent Villeneuve.

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    1. jose says:

      be sure about it. But what a fabulous new years present. lucky devil…

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  44. Jason C says:

    It’s a shame about that, as I think Fisichella would have been the better option. Fisi performed superbly last time he was at Sauber.

    Having said that De la Rosa can’t be bad at development because McLaren have developed some fast cars during his tenure. OK last year’s started out as a dog, but developed a great deal during the season.

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  45. Mac says:

    A waste of a seat. Lovely bloke, but I don’t see that he’ll bring anything to the party save for some midfield accidents.

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  46. rpaco says:

    I guess it must be money, Heidfield has been let down.

    Talking of money, when do the teams have to start conforming to a budget? Obviously no this year since McLaren have spent several times the $50M which was proposed.
    If they spend more this year developing KERS to be used next year, what year’s budget does that come in?

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  47. Demetrios (aka D.) says:

    James, on an unrelated matter … I am going to Montreal for the race, 2nd time there (2006 was the first one, seems I go there whenever there is a World Cup going on also). I had a great time in ’06, met Jarno Trulli at a party, then ran into Nico Rosberg at the airport after the race, had a chat w/ him and took a couple of photos (he was not in a good mood as he had crashed out of the race). My question to you is: can you provide a couple of names for restaurants in Montreal where I might run into one (or more) of the F1 celebrities, including yourself ? In ’06 I recall reading that the entire Renault contingency (Flavio, Alonso, etc, etc) had gone out to an Italian restaurant in the downtown district, on Thursday night. I would seriously appreciate any such information you might be able to provide.

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    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      What about Newtown – Jacques Villenueve’s place?

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  48. MIKE LEA says:

    I think Fisi would have been a far better option than De La Rosa. Yes, he struggled a bit in last year’s Ferrari, but if you look at his career, he has always done pretty well and punched above his weight in midfield teams. He has bags of experience and hasn’t had the lay-off from driving which De La Rosa suffered with the test restrictions. I’m guessing De La Rosa might be bringing a few quid more?

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  49. Francisco says:

    He is great character and very technically capable, I wish him the very best.

    What nobody seems to comment is the fact that this a very, I insist VERY , bad news for McLaren. Inside info tell us that LH is the not sharpest knife in setting a F1 car.
    His first year used to copy FA and later on I have been told that de la Rosa was very helpful in doing that.

    JB is no help either, RB was doing the settings in Brawn.

    James any reactions from McLaren on this?

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    1. Shiro says:

      Well he was a rookie wasn’t he? He would be stupid not to use some of Alonso’s set ups. Even experienced drivers using their team mate’s set ups aren’t uncommon.

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    2. adam says:

      Inside info Francisco ? Let me guess…Marca and AS !

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      1. Frank says:

        If I need to find some info MARCA/AS would be at the bottom of my list (that is a big if). I am afraid these guys have an agenda very unique.
        A friend of a friend works for McLaren.

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  50. Dominic J says:

    Surely his greatest moment was the Bahrain GP – his return to the cockpit during Montoya’s “injury”-enforced absence.

    So Rubens Barrichello will go from oldest to 3rd oldest driver in F1. It remains true that hardly anyone is oldest driver for two years running…

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  51. jose says:

    james, i have seen lately people like martin brundell criticizing the senna way of driving. Everybody seems to be pro-prost nowadays. I know most of the followers on your page have not seen senna driving, but it seeems absurd to talk with todays mentality, of what happened 20 years ago. It is difficult to understand, but what happened there was war, between two of the best drivers in the history of the sport, and senna was driving against the fia as well. what is your opinion on that one.

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    1. James Allen says:

      I worked with both of them and they were amazing people to deal with. It was very political between them, they were both very competitive and Prost had the then FIA president Balestre on his side. Senna took risks which others found unacceptable. He was a controversial driver but he was undoubtedly the best I’ve ever seen

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      1. Buckethead says:

        Hi James, I am suprised that you said that. I thought you think Schumacher was the best ever. Anyway, that’s your opinion and you know more than us.

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      2. James Allen says:

        Schumacher is the most successful, but Senna is the best I ever saw. Can’t speak for the guys from the 50s and 60s, because I never saw them race.

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      3. jose says:

        it would be interesting to see what the young generation of fans think about that war. I see that they are starting to feel cheated by rhe regulations, the circuits, etc
        They have been grown in a politically correct society, but when they see cars banging wheels, like at interlagos, they seem to like it, and support it.
        Are the fans fed up with so many restritions? I know i am, but i grew up when there weren’t any.

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    2. Steve says:

      I saw Senna drive. I saw him drive intentionally into Prost at Japan in front of the entire field. It was the most unsportsmanlike, dirty tactic ever exibited in F1. It dwarfs what Piquet Jr. did. Senna also loved to play the victim card.

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      1. Paul Mc says:

        I watched that incident on Youtube the other day, absolutely crazy. Everyone knew he was going to do it. Schumacher nudged into Villenueve in a slow corner at Jerez and the whole F1 world goes crazy. He was rightly punished of course but Senna was just as ruthless if not more so.

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  52. Pat says:

    Let’s hope Paffet tests on day 1 for McLaren at Jerez & then hope McLaren sign Paul di Resta to replace De La Rosa. True Brit Pack at McLaren then ! :)

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  53. Martin P says:

    I’m betting a fiver on Heidfeld going to McLaren as test driver.

    I’m also making the ludicrous claim, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, that Renault is closed off to him as part of Kubica’s agreement to stay.

    James…. any gossip to suggest either could be true or am I starting it?

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  54. Rich C says:

    Good show!

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  55. Carlos says:

    It’s pretty easy to see why Sauber wouldn’t hire Fisichella – if a Ferrari seat opens up, he’s outta there. If he’s hiring a professional tester, it’s probably for a multi-year development program.

    Total votes:
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  56. Arya says:

    James, lot of people thought that Klien might just have this seat. Now that the seat is with Pedro, what does future have in store for Klien? Any idea?

    P.S.- Its a shame that drivers like Davidson, Klien and Heidfeld are yet to find a seat!

    Total votes:
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    1. James Allen says:

      He’s been considered for Renault, whether he will get it I don’t know. Petrov has a strong case with good GP2 results and a good budget.

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  57. Christopher Snowdon says:

    This is most unsauber like, with all due respect to De La Rosa, we know he’s not cut out to race F1 cars. Testing is a different kettle of fish, how many great testers make great drivers and vice versa?

    The only example that springs to mind is Schumacher.

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    1. Jason C says:

      Really? I’m not so sure I’d have MS down as a great tester. Didn’t he take Barrichello’s set-up a fair few times during their Ferrari years? I know Barrichello is regarded highly on set-up, but their driving styles are completely different.

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  58. jose says:

    Dear steve,
    It is an opinion… but simplistic. It is like saying that the father that kills his sons murderer, is the same as the unibomber.
    Senna was robbed of the 1989 title by balestre and prost, and saw that the same was going to happen in 1990. He was just not going to let that happen again. He was willing to do anything to avoid that. And he even admited afterwards why he did it. That shows some courage i think.

    Total votes:
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  59. The Limit says:

    This is a decision that I am still not totally convinced is the right one, but Peter Sauber is not a foolish guy so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Its true that De La Rosa has years of test experience with McLaren under his belt, but so did Luca Badoer with Ferrari and that ended in tears. To Badoer’s credit atleast, Fisichella didn’t do all that much better, which proved just what a ‘challenge’ the 2009 Ferrari was.
    I found De La Rosa’s performances for McLaren in 2006 fairly encouraging, considering that even then he had not raced properly for years. He came into the fray following the debacle of the US Gp inwhich Montoya and Raikkonen both crashed on the opening lap, to a car that was not all that better than last year’s effort.
    Alot of purists will also remember De La Rosa’s significent role in McLaren’s 2007 Spygate row, inwhich it was alleged that the Spaniard discussed the stolen Ferrari data with copatriot Fernando Alonso.
    Nick Heidfeld, for all his years racing, has never matched the expectations with results. Of the two BMW Sauber drivers last year, he certainly cut the more lonely figure, still yet to win a grands prix. I still hold out hope for him, but he is running out of options and that is worrying for the German.

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  60. John Glynn says:

    Blimey! Glad I was sitting down when I read this.

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  61. Simon Benedict says:

    Hi James,
    This week’s Autosport magazine contradicts your assertion that de la Rosa wasn’t offering the most money. The magazine says that de la Rosa had far more cash available to pay for the seat than Fisichella and his Ferrari backing. Do you stand by your statement?
    Still love the column by the way!
    Cheers, Simon

    Total votes:
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    1. James Allen says:

      Yep.

      Total votes:
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