Pedro de la Rosa had a lot of learning to do when he was thrown into the Sauber this afternoon with minimal preparation.
Although the 40-year-old drove for the Swiss team nine months ago, that car didn’t have KERS or DRS, and he hadn’t driven anything on track since a McLaren test in February.
“It’s an opportunity I did not expect,” said the Spaniard. “I want to do a good job, a solid job as normal, and try to build on today. Hopefully tomorrow my reactions will be more instinctive, and I don’t have to think before I press any button in the steering or somehow. I’m just happy to be here.
“We could use my seat from last year, which was absolutely very important and vital. All the rest, I went out with my McLaren overalls, boots helmet, we did a quick fix on the ear pieces just to match the radio systems from Sauber. The pedals were a compromise.”
Although he has run the 2011 systems in the McLaren simulator, those on the Sauber are different.
“The DRS, it’s the first ever time I’ve driven it in a proper race car, so it’s all new. It’s just a matter of pressing everything when you have, it’s just a matter of extracting the most out of KERS and DRS, and for me this is the point where at the moment I have more to learn. I’m not really disciplined enough with the buttons to extract 100%.
“I have to practice pit stops. Unfortunately I haven’t practised one start, so I need to do that.”