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NOVEMBER 21, 2011

De La Rosa to HRT in 2012

The HRT Formula one team has announced that driver Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team next season.

The 40-year-old Spanish driver will return to racing in F1, signing a two year deal with the team. De la Rosa has raced in 88 formula one races, starting with in 1999 with Arrows, and competing with Jaguar, McLaren and Sauber - most recently substituting for the injured Sergio Perez at Montreal this year.

Pedro de la Rosa said, "This is a very important step in my sporting career and one of the most meditated ones I've taken. I'm at a very good stage in terms of maturity and am prepared to take on this challenge, which motivates me hugely. When deciding on joining this project, for me there were three decisive factors: my desire to return to the active competition, the fact that HRT is a Spanish team and getting to know the people leading this project, Luis Perez-Sala being amongst them. I'm here to work hard, with modesty and humility, accepting where we are now but keeping in mind where we want to be in 2 years time. For me, this is the time to put into practice everything that I have learnt over the years at international top level racing teams so that we can grow together. I am proud that Spain has an F1 team and that I have this opportunity to be its driver. I can only show my gratitude towards HRT for having trusted in me for this. Lastly, I can't forget to thank McLaren for allowing me to take this step. I have been very happy over the eight seasons I spent with them, growing as a driver and person. Without them I wouldn't be here today."

Team principal Colin Kolles said, "The team's objective has always been to reinforce itself in every aspect: economically, technically and in a sporting aspect. Without a doubt, the addition of Pedro de la Rosa for next year will be a fundamental foundation in the development of our project. We are a young team that needs to continue progressing and with this incorporation I am convinced that we will do just that. Apart from being a great person he is an experienced driver as his career and prestige in Formula 1 prove. I give him my most sincere welcome. I am sure that he will adapt perfectly and that together we will achieve great things."

After serving as a test and reserve driver for McLaren for many years, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said, "Pedro's contribution to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been fantastically valuable - perhaps even more valuable than may be apparent to outsiders in fact - ever since he joined us in 2003. As a test driver, he's been extraordinarily hard-working - on track and, latterly, more often, in our simulator - and his feedback has been reliable and expert. But his contributions have gone wider and deeper than that: Pedro is the archetypal team player, a big motivational presence in our team, and, perhaps because of that, he's someone whom I personally will always count as a true friend. In 2010 and 2011 he drove some races for the Sauber team - and, although he's always approached his test and development work with McLaren with energy and enthusiasm, he remains a racer at heart. For that reason, we understand and support his decision to join HRT as a race driver, and we wish him well. It goes without saying, however, that he'll be missed."