De la Rosa plays down hopes for McLaren seat

Thu, 15 November 2007, 06:11

Pedro de la Rosa has played down expectations that he is the favourite to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2008.

The Spaniard is the Woking based team’s long time test driver but he acknowledges that his advancing years do not play in his favour to return to the grid in a top seat.

“I think I had better chances one year ago,” the 36-year-old, referring to his quest to beat Lewis Hamilton to the seat alongside Alonso for 2007, told the Spanish newspaper Marca.

He said of last winter: “I felt very confident after racing next to Raikkonen for eight races and was convinced I could be their official driver.

“Now the situation is different; I have my feet on the ground and I know it is going to be difficult — last year it was just a question of Hamilton or myself. It is much more open now.

“It is the team’s decision and I must wait,” de la Rosa added.

He has driven alongside fellow McLaren tester Gary Paffett all week in Barcelona, lodging consistently quicker lap times.

“The team knows me thoroughly,” de la Rosa said. “I do not feel as though I am being tested.

“They know exactly what I can do and the only thing that interests me is to go as fast as I can and try to help the team evolve the car.

“My positive points are that I know the team and the car perfectly and I am consistent. On the negative side is that I am no longer twenty. These days it is in fashion to go for young drivers but I cannot turn back time,” he said.

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