Pedro De La Rosa

So after the news yesterday that Pedro will once again be on the drivers list - this time at HRT - I thought I'd put a thread up to discuss his exploits.

Spain's second greatest racing driver - unless Jamie Alguersauri finishes above 9th in Brazil on Sunday - in which case Spain's 3rd greatest racing driver!

Started out as test driver for Jordan back in 1998 before getting a race seat with the Arrows team in 1999. He joined the exclusive 'scoring points on your debut' club by finishing 6th in his first race in Australia. Back then points only went down to 6th so it really was an achievment. He did benifit from both Mclaren's breaking down and Schumacher getting a puncture and ending up a lap down. Having said that he was running as high as 4th at one point before having to take a late pitstop.The rest of the season did not go quite so well as he scored no more points and failed to finish 11 of the 16 races. Arrows kept him on for the following season and he scored 2 more 6th places with 2 very handy drives at the European and German Grand Prix's.

Arrows dropped De La Rosa for money reason for the 2001 season and he looked to be without a seat until the management at Jaguar had a falling out with the great Luciano Burti and kicked him out after 4 races and De La Rosa was in the car in time for the Spanish Grand Prix and he pretty much kept pace with team leader Eddie Irvine for rest of the season scoring two further point scoring finishes with a 6th in Canada and a 5th in Italy. De La Rosa stayed on for the 2002 season but failed to score any more points and when the management changed after the failed Adrian Newey coup Pedro lost favour and his seat.

It was the following season that he started his long stint as Mclaren test driver and seemed to fit in well with the whole get up. It wasn't until 2005 he finally got an outing in the race seat in place of Montoya who was injured 'playing tennis' - he actually did pretty well - winning the most overtakes award and scoring a pretty reasonable 5th place. It was probably this performance that made Mclaren decide to give him the rest of the 2006 season after Montoya sulked off with 8 races left. He scored 5 points finishes in those 8 races and had 2 none finishes the highlight of that stint was a 2nd place at Hungary in the same race Jenson Button took his first Grand Prix win. It was a mixed up race and actually an excellent drive by Pedro to take the 2nd place which I'm sure he wuld love us to remember him best for. Of course we don't!

Come 2007 Mr De La Rosa was back to Mclaren Test Driver again after the introduction of a certain Lewis Hamilton. This was the year Pedro made himself front page news without even driving in a race as the contents of his e-mail were examined at a high court and led to Mclaren's massive fine and losing all his constructor points. Despite being wildly blamed on the net for Mclaren's fall Mclaren themselves obviously didn't think so as they kept him on for another 2 years. He even became head of the GPDA in 2008.

2010 saw Pedro make an shock return to F1 driving for Sauber. His season was largly dissapointing except for a 7th place in Hungary and with 5 races to go he was dropped in favour of Nick Heidfeld.

2011 saw him resign for Mclaren as a tester - strangely just after Ron Dennis has his driving licence taken off him brining about rumours Pedro was acting as his personal chauffer. He briefly had a break from this role to be the emergency stand in at Sauber in this years Canadian Grand Prix gettng himself a fairly respectable 12th place finish

Then came yesterdays news Pedro De La Rosa has signed for Spanish team HRT with a 2 year contract. At 41 years of age you have to say he's been signed for his development skills and hopefully that will work out. Pedro seem's especially keen as the team is Spanish and feels he's bringing something back to the nation. The thing you have to ask though is that De La Rosa has not completed a full season since 2002 and with HRT currently avereging 3.5 drivers a season you have to wonder whether he'll make it until the end of 2013.

87 Grand Prix's and officially the most experience test driver ever. Thoughts on Pedro?
Not sure he's the most experienced test driver ever - Luca Badoer clocked up 12 years at Ferrari or thereabouts. But I digress.

Pedro seems to fit into a pattern of drivers who, having been long-term testers, struggle when they get back into a race seat. In this I'm bracketing him with Alex Wurz and Olivier Panis, both of whom were highly-rated in their early years.

Personally I never considered Pedro to be in that sort of company, a sort of steady pedaller who you didn't miss when he lost his drive. I thought Sauber were making a mistake by signing him up two years ago, so clearly I don't think this is a great move in performance terms for HRT. As others have said, he obviously brings a wealth of knowledge from Woking, and may be able to lever some Spanish sponsorship for the team too.
Couple of Points:

1) Has he been the Pirelli test driver for this year?
2) I think he'll give HRT an edge over Marussia, maybe not in terms of pace, but in terms of development.
3) If HRT could get a loan deal for someone like Ricciardo or Vergne, then Pedro will help them a lot, and then they'd have enough sponsorship to hopefully keep their drivers for the whole year.
For HRT, next year is about being fast and professional enough out of the blocks to test properly and build a car that is faster than Maruissa and shows promise of hitching onto the back of the midfield. De la Rosa is possibly the perfect driver for that task. They need someone with more driving (vs testing) skills in the other car to ensure this opportunity is maximised.
I did a quick check, and in a career of 86 starts Pedro has only beaten his teammate 3 times (in races where both have finished). Even taking into account the prevalence of mechanical failures, that's terrible. I understand that HRT want an experienced driver and a known quantity, but if that quantity happens to be really bad, why choose it?
I understand that Pedro brings knowledge of McLaren, but I'm not sure of the value of him saying "They have X, Y and Z at Woking" when the answer is inevitably going to be, "We can't afford that!"

What they need is someone who will be good to pick up a result in a chaotic or wet race. Someone like Heidfeld say?
I did a quick check, and in a career of 86 starts Pedro has only beaten his teammate 3 times (in races where both have finished). Even taking into account the prevalence of mechanical failures, that's terrible. I understand that HRT want an experienced driver and a known quantity, but if that quantity happens to be really bad, why choose it?

That is incredibly bad. Those team-mates are Jos Verstappen, Eddie Irvine, Kimi Raikkonen (once) and Kamui Kobayashi. Oh, and Toranasuke Takagi!

In fairness, only including races where both cars have finished sort of deflates Pedro's total, because he's driven in some horrendously unreliable cars: the Arrows of 1999 pretty much never finished and Takagi was capable of moments of incredible stupidity which hardly helped. De la Rosa won out on both the occasions they both finished. But 3 times: Hungary 2010, Australia 1999 and Spain 1999.

That is to say, in the same car, when both drivers finished, Pedro de la Rosa has never beaten a non-Japanese team-mate in a race.
The news has been so overloaded with stories of Putin's re-election and possible carrousel voting that De La Rosa's coup and take over of the GPDA under the 'Rubens isn't here anymore' clause has been completely overlooked

His first ruling as president is to deem laping a slower car as unsafe and anyone doing so will be shot on site!
Really???? :shocked:

1994 he was a bit young, surprised he kept for so long aswell :s

Well I guess you learn something new everyday :).
So Pedro was quicker than Charles Pic in the Marussia in both sessions and a country mile ahead of his team-mate. I know we shouldn't read too much in to practice times but looks like HRT have made a quick jump on to Marussia's tail again!
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