De la Rosa lands McLaren test role

Axed Jaguar Racing driver Pedro de la Rosa has signed to test for McLaren Mercedes in 2003. The 32-year-old Catalan kept his foot in the door of Formula 1 by keeping his foot down at Jerez and subsequently at Barcelona, where he hit the top of the timesheets, faster even than new team-mate David Coulthard

De la Rosa lands McLaren test role

"I'm really excited about joining the McLaren Mercedes team as test driver," he said. "I have already taken part in a couple of test sessions and am impressed with the professionalism of everybody involved.

"It was a good feeling to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again, and I am looking forward to immersing myself fully in the development programme alongside David, Kimi and Alex (Wurtz)."

McLaren MD Martin Whitmarsh commented: "As a consequence of the demands of our intensive test and development programme, we felt that it would be beneficial to the entire team to have an additional permanent driver resource. The team has been impressed with Pedro's feedback and application after more than 1700kms covered in the six days he has already tested for us."

Mercedes-Benz vice-president of motor sport Norbert Haug added: "Pedro will support Alexander Wurz in the intensified test programme ahead of us and we are looking forward to working with him."

Wurz was missing from the team's Barcelona test last week after feeling unwell on the flight back from the Malaysian Grand Prix. He was subsequently checked out for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory System) and has been cleared.

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