With the countdown winding down until the 2010 Formula One season's opening round in Bahrain, the roster of drivers competing for top honors is drawing near completion with the announcement that the Sauber team has signed Pedro de la Rosa as its second race driver.
The Spanish driver started in F1 as a test driver for Jordan in 1998, driving for Arrows and Jaguar before going to McLaren, with whom he stayed as a test driver from 2003 through 2009, filling in for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 and 2006. With McLaren now divorced from Mercedes and Sauber from arch-rival BMW, de la Rosa will return to the grid alongside Japanese hot shoe Kamui Kobayashi for the upcoming season.
Following the Sauber announcement, only four seats remain unconfirmed: two at USF1, one at Campos (alongside Bruno Senna) and one at Renault (alongside Robert Kubica). Follow the jump for the press release from Sauber and a standing roster of who'll be driving for which teams this season.
Confirmed Drivers for 2010 Formula One World Championship:
- Mercedes GP
- Red Bull Racing
- BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa
- Force India-Mercedes
- Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Lucas di Grassi
- US F1-Cosworth
Pedro de la Rosa to race for BMW Sauber F1 Team
Hinwil, 19 January 2010 – Pedro de la Rosa is the BMW Sauber F1 Team's second driver for the 2010 season. The 38-year-old Spaniard has 71 Grands Prix under his belt and worked with McLaren as a test and reserve driver for seven years. In December the Swiss team had already announced it had signed on Kamui Kobayashi (23, Japan).
"Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level," pointed out Team Principal Peter Sauber, adding: "We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one. I don't expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I'm really excited about the season with Peter Sauber's team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993."
Pedro de la Rosa was born in Barcelona (ES) on 24th February 1971. He has lived in Zurich (CH) for several years with his wife Maria Reyes and daughters Georgina, Olivia and Luna.
De la Rosa began karting at the relatively late age of 17, but was immediately discovered and sponsored by the Spanish Automobile Federation. A year later he had already progressed to a single-seater racing car and went on to win the Formula Fiat Uno. After successful stints in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and British Formula 3, 1997 saw him win the Japanese Formula 3000 and GT Championship.
In 1998 he made his debut as a Formula One test driver for the Jordan Team. He contested his first Grand Prix in Australia in 1999 for Arrows, taking his inferior car straight into the points with a sixth-placed finish. He remained with Arrows in 1999 and 2000, moving to Jaguar for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
From 2003 through to 2009 he worked for McLaren-Mercedes as a reserve driver. Called upon to race for the team in nine Grands Prix, he capitalised on these opportunities. In 2005 he finished fifth in Bahrain and claimed the fastest race lap. 2006 saw him stepping into the breach again: in eight races he managed to pick up 19 World Championship points and took a podium place by finishing second in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.