De la Rosa knew he might replace Perez
12 June, 2011
Jun.12 (GMM) McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa knew before travelling to Montreal that there was a chance he could be racing for Sauber this weekend.
The veteran Spaniard admitted earlier that he found out for sure just minutes before second practice, when regular Sergio Perez reported unwell.
But the news that Sauber tentatively arranged his loan from McLaren some days earlier – before Perez pulled out – is a further blow to the team’s official Mexican reserve Esteban Gutierrez, who is reportedly unhappy about missing out on the drive and is not even in Montreal this weekend.
“It was before I went to Canada,” de la Rosa told Mundo Deportivo newspaper when asked when the possibility of replacing Perez was first raised.
“Martin Whitmarsh told me that Sauber had contacted him to see if it would be possible to replace Sergio if necessary. But I didn’t really think about it and forgot about it when I saw Perez doing the first session,” de la Rosa explained.
The report said Sauber did not want 19 year old Gutierrez learning the hopes in Formula 1 on the unforgiving and often treacherous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
De la Rosa told Sonntagsblick newspaper that even he struggled at the wheel of the unfamiliar Sauber C30, despite racing its predecessor a year ago.
“I constantly pressed the wrong buttons. There was just not enough time to learn the steering wheel,” he revealed.
Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that his unfamiliarity was a factor in his crash before qualifying, after pressing the DRS button instead of deploying KERS.
And in a message to Perez, de la Rosa said: “I’m sorry you were unwell but I’m sure you’ll come back stronger. My long career is ending and yours is just beginning.”