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.
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.