Ron Dennis Urges De la Rosa to Stay as McLaren Test Driver

Former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis insisted that Mercedes' works team is still very much dependent on at least one test driver to develop their car through 2009. Although the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has restricted in-season testing this year, Dennis believes test drivers are very important in team's equation for the upcoming season, at least from their reserve-driver position point of view.

“I think one of the questions that would be on everybody's lips is, when you are not testing between the first and the last race how come we've got four drivers? But we are fully committed to exploring every possibility as regards how we develop the car and of course we need a reserve driver, that's Pedro, and we need a lot of capacity for our simulator,” said Dennis, as quoted by Reuters news agency.

With the in-season restrictions, most testing of several new aerodynamic features will likely move to team's race simulator. However, only experienced drivers have the capabilities to develop the car following these in-factory tests, therefore another reason why current test-driver Pedro de la Rosa's role with McLaren becomes vital.

“For that to work you really have to have drivers with all the same attributes that are expected of a driver when he actually tests the car on the circuit,” added Dennis.

Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting this week, it was confirmed that all F1 teams will have 8 one-day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 January 2009 and the end of the last event of the 2009 Championship.

Nevertheless, the Spaniard revealed he is thinking of leaving Formula 1 at the end of this year due to the low-key role of test drivers in 2009. Unless he'll be able to secure a spot in the 2010 F1 roster, De la Rosa admitted he'll be looking elsewhere for a racing spot.
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