Ousted Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa has made clear his interests in returning to a full-time driver role in Formula 1 next season, and has indicated he is in discussions with Hispania Racing.
Having previous raced full-time with Arrows and Jaguar in the late 90s and early 00s, the Spaniard was engaged in a long-term role as McLaren’s test driver – with the occasional guest race outing – until he made a return to the grid with Sauber at the beginning of the season.
We had questioned his suitability at the time of his signing – particularly given his traditional lack of qualifying prowess – and sadly it turned out to be the case, with the two sides parting company after the Italian Grand Prix. Prior to his sacking, De la Rosa had picked up just 6 of the team’s 27 championship points.
Prior to his signing with Sauber, the 39-year-old had been in talks with HRT’s former guise, Campos-Meta, and recently told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that he is once again interested in joining the tail-ender outfit.
“If their sporting project is interesting and ambitious, I’ll be happy to be with them. So far there is no hurry,” he said. “I am in contact with the [team’s owners] Carabantes.
“We talk a lot. For Spain it is very important to have a formula one team and what they have done so far has much merit,” he effused.
“Now [Spain has] a team but we are not getting the best value. They succeeded in just a few months to have a car on track at the start of the season and will have another car next year.
“But the project needs more support, not only from companies but also drivers like myself, and the fans. We have to get behind them.”
De la Rosa currently occupies the role of Pirelli’s tyre development tester, as it makes its return to the F1 stage as the replacement to Bridgestone next season.
In all likelihood, the only means by which de la Rosa is likely to secure the drive is with a fistful of sponsorship backing. He’s going to have to start banging on the doors of major Spanish companies, but will they be prepared to back a driver who has the perception of being past his use-by-date when there are other young, better-funded, drivers scouting for drives?
Hispania Racing is yet to offer any comment to these rumours.
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[Original image via LAT]