In Maranello, De La Rosa > Badoer

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I see there’s talk that the late-season resurgence of Felipe Massa in 2012 could give Ferrari a few headaches when it comes to balancing its driver lineup this Formula 1 season. Fernando Alonso remains and will remain the team’s No. 1 driver (until Sebastian Vettel arrives, anyway), but a hot out of the gate Massa in 2013 could cause some strategic hiccups in Maranello.

Which is just one way of saying it is a good time for Ferrari to introduce its newest driver: Pedro De La Rosa, a man who needs no introduction at this point in the sport.

Here’s how Ferrari puts it:

“We decided to add De La Rosa to our group of drivers mainly to strengthen one area, namely work in the simulator, which with the current regulations regarding testing, is becoming ever more important,” said Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali. “Pedro therefore joins a group of drivers that already includes Davide Rigon, Marc Gene, Andrea Bertolini and Jules Bianchi. Regarding the latter, who is also part of the FDA, we are currently trying to find him a role in Formula 1 and when we have some news, we will let you know.”

I suppose it is worth noting that Bianchi just won Massa’s annual karting competition. (Also, how did I miss the memo of my dear Giancarlo’s departure from Ferrari’s F1 stable. Is he just doing endurance racing now? Is it time for a Giancarlo blog?)

Here’s Pedro’s take on his new home:

“It is amazingly motivating to be working for a team like Ferrari, not just because of what it represents in the history of Formula 1 and motoring in general, but also because it will be a completely new and very stimulating experience for me,” said De La Rosa. “I really hope I can get to work as soon as possible and to help in the development of the car. I am happy to be collaborating with Fernando again and also to be working with Felipe. There’s not much time until Australia, but there is a lot to do and I am available to help the team from right now.”

Unless the F1B team’s opinion has changed, I think we all credit Pedro as extremely solid in the role that Ferrari has put him; whether he’s quite so great during race weekend’s is a bit more sketchy. And with in-season improvements seeming to be ever more important — unless one can strike gold ala Brawn in 2009 — perhaps Pedro’s experience and knowledge will be the key to Ferrari’s beating Red Bull and McLaren this year.

Thoughts?

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