When Pedro de la Rosa broke the news to McLaren, where he was a long-term and highly respected test driver, that he wanted to join HRT for 2012, team principal Martin Whitmarsh called him "mad".
de la Rosa's stats and facts
- Team: HRT
- Team-mate: Narain Karthikeyan
- Nationality: Spanish
- Born: 24/02/71, Catalonia
- Grand prix debut: Australia 1999
De la Rosa, 40, was under no illusions about what he was letting himself in for, but he wanted to be a racing driver again and this was his only way of doing it in F1.
From HRT's point of view, the decision was easier to understand.
They were getting a driver of vast experience, with solid pace, a nice guy, and someone who would provide a valuable source of knowledge and expertise in their quest finally to properly establish themselves in F1 after two seasons of hand-to-mouth existence.
The team had a difficult start to the season, but there have been signs of considerable progress, the Spaniard mixing it with the Marussia cars from Monaco onwards.
De la Rosa has also comfortably had the better of team-mate Narain Karthikeyan, proving that his inherent pace remains.