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MARCH 9, 2011

De la Rosa returns to McLaren

The McLaren-Mercedes F1 team has announced that Pedro de la Rosa will return to the team in his previous long-time role as test and reserve driver.

McLaren also announced that they will retain Gary Paffett as a tester, who will also compete in a full season for Mercedes-Benz in the German DTM series.

After racing for Arrows and Jaguar, De la Rosa joined McLaren as a test driver in 2003, and held the position for seven years before joining Sauber to race for the team last season. After being dropped by the Swiss team mid-season, De la Rosa was contracted by Pirelli to help develop their new F1 tyre.

De la Rosa said, "Of all the teams I've driven for in Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the one that really feels like home. So 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 said, "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. 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."

"Our partners - Vodafone, ExxonMobil, Santander, Johnnie Walker, Hugo Boss and all the others - are also delighted that, once again, they'll be able to draw on Pedro's readiness to involve himself with marketing programmes during grand prix weekends, which he has always performed with enthusiasm and skill. Meanwhile, we wish Gary a very successful season in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz - and are delighted that, away from the world's racetracks, he'll continue to give us the benefit of his considerable technical and developmental abilities."