So, despite rumours circulating the ether last week to the effect that Pedro de la Rosa would be ousted to make way for Lewis Hamilton in the second McLaren for the last three Grands Prix of the year, the team have now confirmed that the veteran Spaniard will do the honours... in Shanghai and Japan at least.
It made perfect sense to keep Pedro for the two Far East back-to-back races - but it was Suzuka, and not Shanghai, that was the key. Why so? Because, like Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo before him, de la Rosa was one of those European drivers who sought fame and fortune in Japan after doing Formula Three in Europe (the British F3 Championship in Pedro's case).
As such, he won the All-Japan F3 championship in 1995, contested the All-Japan GT Championship and the Formula Nippon championship in 1996, and re-entered both those championships the following year with resounding success, duly becoming 1997 Formula Nippon champion and 1997 All-Japan GT champion.
So Pedro knows Suzuka very well indeed. Moreover, Suzuka is perhaps the trickiest F1 circuit of all for a new driver to master - even Kimi Raikkonen struggled there at first - which means that it would be an odd decision indeed to give Hamilton his F1 baptism there.