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FEBRUARY 2, 2001

De la Rosa could take test drive role for 2001

SPANIARD Pedro de la Rosa has said he will take a role as a test driver for the new season, providing he is promised a full drive for 2002.

De la Rosa was surprisingly ditched by Arrows in favor of young Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi this week and his only chance of a drive in this year's championship is with Minardi, who have yet to reveal their driver line-up following Paul Stoddart's takeover.

But De la Rosa, 29, admitted he will accept an offer of a test driver role from a major team before returning to the Formula One grid next year.

"My chances of a drive are small because most teams have got their drivers for the 2001 season," De la Rosa said. "I have to evaluate all the possibilities.

"I would accept being a test driver today in a good team only if they would guarantee me a seat in the 2002 season. The most important thing right now is to see my future in Formula One. It is my priority and I have no time to waste."

De la Rosa revealed that he turned down a number of offers - one of which was rumored to be from Prost - in the summer, but said that he will get another chance in Formula One.

The Repsol-backed driver added that he is fitter than ever before in his motor racing career and said he has not given up on his dream of becoming a Formula One world champion.

"I don't feel a victim, basically because I see more chances in the future," he said. "I'm not going to hide my anger though because this has happened a month before the start of the season.

"All the teams except for Minardi have their line-ups now. I had some offers this summer and I said no to them and now there are no seats free.

"But my main aim is to be world champion. It's surprising how I feel more motivated than ever and I'm probably at my highest level in terms of fitness and mental strength in my career.

"At the moment I'm focusing on my near future. We are all working hard to make things happen. I won't give up that easily."