F1 news round-up: Pedro de la Rosa back ‘home’ at McLaren
The Sport Review brings you a round-up of all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1
Pedro de la Rosa has returned “home” to McLaren as reserve and test driver for the 2011 season after failing to secure a drive with Hispania Racing.
The Spaniard left the Woking-based team after seven years at the end of the 2009 season to join Sauber for 2010, but was replaced by Nick Heidfeld in the second half of the season.
He said: “Of all the teams I’ve driven for in Formula 1, McLaren is the one that really feels like home.”
His last role in Formula 1 was as a test driver with incoming tyre supplier Pirelli, ironically replacing Heidfeld who was the first driver signed up by the Italian manufacturer.
McLaren’s other test, Gary Paffett, will focus on simulation and development work away from races as he looks to win the DTM Series with the Mercedes-powered HWA Team after finishing runner-up to Paul di Resta in 2010.
Christian Klien has switched his attentions to securing a role as third driver after he also missed out on a drive with Hispania Racing. The Austrian lost out to friend and former Red Bull team-mate Tonio Liuzzi, who was confirmed alongside Narain Karthikeyan on Wednesday.
Klien drove five races for Hispania in 2010, and had banked on that experience as well as an attractive sponsorship package giving him the seat, as Liuzzi’s representatives denied the Italian would be a pay driver.
Klien still believes he has a future in F1 and will look to find an interim role with a view to securing a drive in 2012.
However, if he can count on financial support from the companies who were prepared to back him from the start he could still be drafted in at the Spanish team, as last year, if they continue to struggle financially.
Suzuka will continue to host the Japanese Grand Prix until 2012 after a new deal was agreed with the Honda-owned circuit.
However, such a short deal casts doubts over its long-term future in F1 as the owners baulk at pressure from Formula 1 Management to pay more to host the race.
This season could see 20 races if the Bahrain Motor Federation can rearrange their postponed race at Sakhir, and with new circuits under construction in the USA and Russia, and more proposed in eastern Europe, older venues could lose out despite their popularity with drivers and spectators.
Honda, fellow Japanese car maker Toyota and tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, have all left F1 in recent years, and few Japanese companies appear interested in sponsoring Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi. Nissan have however recently become a sponsor of champions Red Bull through their Infiniti marque.
US Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund has come out in support of Bernie Ecclestone’s idea to introduce ‘artificial rain’ through automatic sprinklers to liven up races.
Hellmund’s support comes in the face of widespread disdain over the potential innovation, with the American claiming it could increase ticket sales, add to the spectacle for crowds, and even give teams with smaller budget more of a chance to compete with the perennial front runners.
Hispania Racing has announced a new sponsorship deal with security solutions firm Panda Security, as well as a technical partnership which will see the Spanish company provide protection solutions to Hispania’s IT infrastructure both in Spain and around the world.