Pedro de la Rosa is hoping to surprise the Formula One world when he makes his return to the grid.
The Spaniard completes BMW Sauber’s line-up for the 2010 season after being unveiled by the Hinwil squad on Tuesday.
As in the case of Michael Schumacher, De la rosa has not raced in the sport since the end of the 2006 season. However, in an interview with the official Formula One website, the chairman of the GPDA is confident that he will competitive.
“I would not be here if I did not think I still had what it takes,” he said. “I have a huge amount of motivation.
“I am a hard worker and I think that is the most important thing at this level…to still have the motivation and hunger to attack, and to work everyday as if it was the last day. So yes, I have what it takes.
“How good will I be? We will see! I believe I can be a lot better than people expect and let’s take it from there. It is a long winter. We have four weeks of great testing ahead and I will gradually get back to speed.”
During his spell on the sidelines De la rosa fulfilled the role of test and reserve driver for the McLaren team – a position which the Spaniard believes has made him a better driver.
“I think my experience is a massive asset,” he continued. “You do not gain experience in a few months or in one year. It is over years that you gain experience and that is what I can bring to the team.
“I want to help my team mate Kamui (Kobayashi) as well because he is quick, young and inexperienced. We need to be a very strong unit to exploit the team’s great potential and I think that I can contribute to achieving that.
Although De la rosa is fully motivated ahead of the season he remains realistic about the competitiveness of BMW Sauber.
“I need to spend more time with the team and with the people. I need to learn more about the 2010 car, and we’ll need to wait until we start testing in February to answer this question.
“This is my first day at work! We need to set goals that are achievable. However, I would be disappointed if we were not in a position to fight for points on a regular basis.”
In a separate interview it has also been announced that the Spanish banking giant, Santander, will sponsor de la Rosa next season.
“Pedro is a friend and a very intelligent person who impressed us very much in our three years together,” said Santander’s Juan Manuel Cendoya, when referring to the bank’ s relationship with de la Rosa’s former employer, McLaren “We are going to support him personally but we are not going to be at Sauber with any of our brands.”