Veteran Pedro de la Rosa will make it two drivers over the age of 40 on the grid next year when he lines up with HRT. The Spaniard has signed a two year contract with the team which will certainly help them to move forward technically.
The team is owned by Thesan Capital and sees itself very much as the Spanish team in F1. De la Rosa has had a chequered career as a race driver in F1 with stints at Arrows and Jaguar and an ill fated stint at Sauber last year. He has been McLaren test driver and has a very close relationship with McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.
“This is a very important step in my sporting career and one of the most meditated ones I’ve taken,” said De la Rosa. “I’m at a very good stage in terms of maturity and am prepared to take on this challenge, which motivates me hugely.
“When deciding on joining this project, for me there were three decisive factors: my desire to return to the active competition, the fact that HRT is a Spanish team and getting to know the people leading this project, Luis Perez-Sala being amongst them. I’m here to work hard, with modesty and humility, accepting where we are now but keeping in mind where we want to be in two years’ time.”
The move is likely to be the first of a number of driver announcements over the coming weeks, with Williams believed to be about to announce Kimi Raikkonen, Force India are due to announce their two drivers, with strong rumours that Nico Hulkenberg will get his chance, which means one of Adrian Sutil or Paul di Resta moving on.
Renault are expected to announce Romain Grosjean in one of the seats. It remains to be seen what Vitaly Petrov’s future is with the team.
At Virgin, soon to be renamed Marrussia, Charles Pic is expected by French colleagues to replace Jerome d’Ambrosio.
The great interest now will be to see who HRT partner De la Rosa with. Dan Ricciardo has been placed there since Silverstone this year by Red Bull. He is in competition with Jean Eric Vergne and the two imcumbents for the seats at Toro Rosso.