by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Pedro de la Rosa rejoins Vodafone McLaren Mercedes


Team welcomes Spaniard back as official test and reserve driver

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is pleased to welcome Pedro de la Rosa back as its official test and reserve driver.

The Spaniard originally joined McLaren-Mercedes in 2003.

Working closely with our race and test teams for seven seasons, he helped develop cars that won 29 grands prix and, most memorably, the 2008 drivers’ world championship with Lewis Hamilton.

As a Formula 1 racing driver, Pedro has driven 84 grands prix for Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren-Mercedes and BMW-Sauber.

But it is as a Formula 1 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 McLaren Mercedes team-mates.

Indeed, motor racing statisticians may be interested to learn that Pedro 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.

We will benefit significantly from being able to draw on his enormous experience once again.

Furthermore, we are equally delighted that we will also be retaining the services of 2005 German Touring Car (DTM) champion and 2002 German Formula 3 champion Gary Paffett.

Gary will dovetail his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 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 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes away from the world's racetracks to ensure that we maintain our high standards of race simulation and vehicle engineering – increasingly important areas of development given the lack of in-season track running.

Pedro said:

“Of all the teams I’ve driven for in Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the one that really feels like home.

“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.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh added:

“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.

“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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