Pedro de la Rosa admits it was a big surprise to be given the opportunity to test Ferrari’s new car at Jerez next week
The Spanish driver was recruited by Ferrari earlier this month after being left without a race seat in the wake of former team HRT’s demise, and is set to serve primarily as a development driver in their Maranello simulator.
With F1’s winter testing schedule cut down to only 12 days at present, it usually means that only race drivers are given a run, but with Fernando Alonso opting to skip the opening test of 2013, an opportunity presented itself for de la Rosa.
The 41-year-old admits he was surprised to be given the run-out, but says it will definitely prove useful for his future simulator work.
“I’ve seen the new car in the factory, as it is being prepared for the first test,” he said. “I am very happy to be able to test it and honestly I had not expected that. It’s a unique opportunity to begin to understand how the car works and how I can help with the work in the simulator.”
De la Rosa spent the best part of a decade serving as a test and development driver for McLaren prior to joining HRT, and he’s excited about what he will learn from joining another top team in a similar capacity - particularly if he can help countryman Alonso’s chances in 2013.
“I’m starting a new phase of my life, for a driver it’s important to work with the big teams, especially because you can learn from the best engineers and professionals in this sport,” De la Rosa added.
“I am proud that Ferrari had faith in me, especially as it means I will be able to help a Spanish champion, in the shape of Fernando Alonso.”