With Nick Heidfeld recently replacing Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa at Sauber F1, it has been announced that de la Rosa will take over Heidfeld's previous position as Pirelli's official test driver ahead of the Italian firm's return to Formula One.
Heidfeld was appointed to Sauber for the remainder of the 2010 season. He had been carrying out initial tests with Pirelli's new Formula One tires.
Initially, Heidfeld was replaced at Pirelli by Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who will continue to test for Pirelli alongside de la Rosa.
The 39-year-old de la Rosa raced for Sauber this year and was McLaren's third driver for many years, meaning he has a wealth of Formula One experience.
"I'm really pleased to be joining Pirelli," said de la Rosa. "Tire testing is something I have always enjoyed as it is a very big challenge, especially in Formula One. The information you can get from telemetry and sensors is valuable, but nothing replaces the individual feeling of a driver with new tires, so I hope I can be a real asset to Pirelli. There's not a lot of time left and a huge amount of work to do, but I'm very much looking forward to it and I am sure that our collaboration will be a success. A lot of useful work has been done already and now we have the opportunity of taking it forward."
Pirelli completed two days of testing at Monza in Italy last week, which concentrated on defining the construction of the new Formula One tires. Grosjean completed a number of long runs consisting of 30 to 40 laps each, in order to check the durability and consistency of the tire in warm conditions.
Thanks to its fast straights and aggressive kerbs, Monza is an extremely demanding circuit for tires, which stood up to the new challenge very well. At the same time, Giorgio Pantano continued to test the new GP2 car, which will also run on Pirelli P Zero tires next year as well as its feeder GP3 Series.
Pirelli's next round of Formula One tests will take place in Spain in early October, where de la Rosa will take the wheel of Pirelli's Toyota TF109 for the first time.