Pedro de la Rosa will return to the McLaren team as test and reserve drive this season, the British squad announced on Wednesday. De la Rosa, who was Pirelli's test driver following his exit from the Sauber team last year, had joined McLaren back in 2003, and spent a seven-year stint with the team.
"Of all the teams I've driven for in Formula 1, McLaren is the one that really feels like home," said de la Rosa, who raced for Sauber last season before he was replaced by Nick Heidfeld with five races to go. "So, I'm very excited about returning to the team to help push the development of the MP4-26.
"Lewis and Jenson already have an extremely positive and productive working relationship; so, building on and adding to their existing rapport, I'm aiming to do everything I can to help them get even more from our car, our engineers and our technical resources back at the McLaren Technology Centre."
The team also confirmed that Gary Paffett will be retained despite de la Rosa's return.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that I'm delighted that Pedro has chosen to return to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. He rejoins us with even greater experience, and his motivation and attention to detail remain as sharp as ever. His recruitment adds considerable strength in depth to our driver lineup.
"With two World Champion race drivers in Lewis and Jenson, and two of the world's most experienced and capable development drivers in Pedro and Gary, we feel we have a quartet of talent that is absolutely second to none.
"Meanwhile, we wish Gary a very successful season in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz, and are delighted that, away from the world's racetracks, he'll continue to give us the benefit of his considerable technical and developmental abilities."