|Working at Woking: Paffett (left) and de la Rosa (right) have been confirmed as McLaren’s two test drivers|
McLaren has confirmed it has rehired both Gary Paffett and Pedro de la Rosa to its test driving roster.
De la Rosa’s future had been up in the air with the former Sauber driver and Pirelli tyre tester out of contract since the end of January. The Grand Prix veteran had been linked with a move to Hispania Racing, although a return to McLaren – with whom he has tested (and occasionally raced) for seven years – was widely tipped as well.
Describing his appointment as a return “home”, the Barcelona-born driver said: “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.”
McLaren 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.”
Paffett, the 2002 German F3 and 2005 DTM champion, will continue to dovetail his duties at McLaren with his regular commitment with the leading Mercedes-Benz team in the DTM series, where he hopes he can mirror the efforts of his fellow Mercedes protégé, Paul di Resta, by winning the title and securing himself a seat in F1 in 2012.
“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.” Whitmarsh added.