Pedro de la Rosa: We will never have a Spanish Formula One team again
By Berthold Bouman
Pedro de la Rosa is currently unemployed, as his HRT team didn’t find a buyer in time, and, although there has not been an official statement, it seems the Spanish adventure in Formula One is over for good. “It is time to turn the page, and look to the future,” de la Rosa told the Spanish Marca magazine.
“But,” he admitted, “It is true, I am a realist and everything that has happened [lately] has been very unpleasant for everyone who works at HRT.” Asked whether it is really over for the Spanish outfit de la Rosa said, “I don’t know, I’m just the driver, and there has not been an official notification, but the feeling we all have is that the project will not continue and I’m already looking for a job for the coming year.”
About his time with HRT he said, “I have given it everything. If I hadn’t given it the full one hundred percent I’d probably feel guilty, or have sleepless nights, but that is not the case.”
Being the star driver of the team, does he feel cheated by the final outcome of the whole endeavour? “No, it was an ambitious project, I’m not a quitter, we all worked very hard, but in the end we are all responsible for this failure.”
De la Rosa thinks it was a missed opportunity for his native Spain. “That’s another sad thing about this project, we will never have a Spanish Formula One team again,” he said, and he explained, “I don’t think we’ll see another Spanish team, when we started the conditions were exactly right, with a driver like Fernando Alonso there was a great national interest in the sport. I don’t think we’ll find the same conditions again on a short or medium term, it will be very difficult.”
He also blamed the economic recession for the demise of the team, “It has affected Formula One and has especially affected Spanish companies, but that is something that we can not choose, who would have thought that the crisis would turn out to be so sour and so deep? It is very difficult to enter Formula One supporting a Spanish team when the situation in your company and your country is so bad.”
But de la Rosa has no regrets, “I have seen all kinds of teams and people, very small, medium and large teams, and this year has been very enriching for me, I’ve seen how one suffers, how one struggles to survive with one-tenth of the budget of most other teams. However, it has been a very nice experience.”
Could he return to McLaren to take up his previous position as test and reserve driver again? “I already left the team twice, so the door won’t be wide open for me. I have been unfaithful and so, I start from zero and it is normal. I am confident that I will continue in Formula One as a test or reserve driver; I will continue with a steering wheel in my hands, but there are no guarantees.”
Therefore it seems it is definitely over for the Spanish team, who never scored a point in Formula One, but they did have the drive, the people, and the passion for the sport. It is also a fact the other two newcomers in Formula One, Marussia and Caterham, didn’t score a single point in their three-year existence either, and as Caterham’s Tom Webb said on Twitter, “Many friends from HRT are now looking for jobs & you couldn’t find more dedicated, passionate, hard-working people. Buena suerte mi amigos!”
And last but not least: HRT has actually become the victim of the bigger teams and the failing FIA policy regarding the spending of teams. The teams have not been very cooperative when it comes to the infamous budget cap, initially endorsed by ex-FIA President Max Mosley, but shelved by current FIA President Jean Todt. Today, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull still spend at least ten times more than the smaller teams and the budget cap seems further away than ever.
There is an old saying in Formula One: Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?
All photos: HRT