Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa will join the Ferrari team as a development driver for the 2013 Formula 1 season, the Italian squad said on Wednesday.
De la Rosa, 41, was left without a drive for this year after the HRT team, with which he had a contract for 2013, folded at the end of last season.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said the Spanish driver will join compatriots Fernando Alonso and Marc Gene at the team to assist with simulation work during the year.
"We must anticipate problems we have and focus on simulation," said Domenicali.
"We think Pedro is the right person to develop this type of activity. We think he is a driver that fits well within our group."
Domenicali denied that de la Rosa's friendship with Alonso was key to his signing.
"Clearly the fact that Pedro has a good relationship with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa is a positive factor, but the decision is purely technical," said the team chief.
De la Rosa, who made his Formula 1 racing debut in 1999 with Arrows, had already spent several years working as a test driver for McLaren before he returned to racing first with Sauber and then with HRT in 2012.
DE LA ROSA'S F1 CAREER
1998: Becomes Jordan test driver after winning Formula 3, Formula Nippon and Super GT titles in Japan.
1999-2000: Arrows race driver.
2001-2002: Starts '01 as Prost test driver before replacing Luciano Burti at Jaguar from Spanish Grand Prix.
2003-2009: McLaren test driver. Makes several starts in place of Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 and '06, and takes first podium in Hungary '06.
2010: Makes surprise racing return with Sauber, but dropped after Italian GP.
2011: Becomes test driver for Pirelli for a spell, before rejoining McLaren as reserve. Makes a one-off return to a Sauber race seat to deputise for injured Sergio Perez in Canada.
2012: Back on the grid again with HRT, but team folds at end of season.