Spanish driver at HRT in 2012

Of all the drivers thrown up as possibilities for HRT in 2012, nobody expected one of them to be Pedro de la Rosa. The Spaniard will be 41 next season, but won’t be the oldest driver on track as Michael Schumacher will be 43. If Rubens Barrichello continues to race, he will be 40 in May.
The contract is for two seasons, and has met the approval of McLaren – de la Rosa’s current team, whom he test drives for. He also drove for Sauber in place of Perez in Canada. Though he has only driven for eight F1 seasons – most of them not complete seasons (only 1999 and 2000 for Arrows, and 2002 for Jaguar, were full seasons) – he has plenty of experience as a test driver. He scored six points for Sauber in 2010, and picked up a podium for McLaren in 2006. He had fastest lap at his only race of 2005 – for McLaren in Bahrain – and is one of those rare drivers who score points in his first race by finishing sixth in Australia in 1999.
Pedro is sponsored by Santander, and his presence as a well-known Spanish driver in a Spanish team is likely to bring in other sponsors as well. Clever move, HRT. It will be disappointing for many young drivers who may have been looking at HRT as an option for 2012 in order to break into F1. However, from the perspective of the team and driver, I have to say – well done!

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