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Pirelli signs Alguersuari and di Grassi as test drivers

ESPNF1 Staff
March 30, 2012 « Sutil withdraws appeal over Lux case | Perez targets a championship challenge in next two years »
Jaime Alguersuari lost his drive at Toro Rosso this year © Sutton Images
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Pirelli has announced that Jaime Alguersuari will join Lucas di Grassi as the tyre company's test drivers this season.

Pirelli has scheduled four development tests at Jerez, Spa, Monza and Barcelona over the course of the year and Alguersuari and di Grassi will share driving duties. The pair will drive Pirelli's recently-acquired Renault R30 Formula One car and will work on developing Formula One tyres as well as GP2 tyres.

Alguersuari, who lost his seat at Toro Rosso over the winter, is hoping the test drive will lead to a return to an F1 race seat in the future.

"I'm very happy indeed to have this fantastic opportunity," Alguersuari said. "A week ago it was my birthday, when I turned 22, and now Pirelli has given me the best possible present. I can't wait to get started with this very important and challenging job of developing the new tyres for the future, which I'm looking forward to a lot. I have a huge desire to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car again and return to competition, so this is a brilliant chance for me."

Di Grassi worked as Pirelli's test driver last year after a year driving for Virgin in Formula One in 2010.

"I'm delighted to be back for another year with Pirelli after an extremely successful first season of collaboration," di Grassi said. "We learned a lot together and so we are both very happy to continue. This is a good opportunity for me to carry on the work that we started last year, which allows me to compare and contrast with all the tyres I have tested so far. These tyres are now a fantastic feature of Formula One."

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery added: "Our commitment to providing the best possible spectacle in Formula One is underlined by the fact that we have two extremely fast and talented test drivers this year. Lucas will provide us with the reference point that we need from the development programme so far, while Jaime brings an extra dimension from his experience of racing at the sharp end of the field throughout the last three seasons. We're going to be using the drivers for all of our single-seater testing activities, including GP2 and simulator development as well.

"Their input and expertise are sure to help us make even greater progress during the season, resulting in competition tyres that enhance the action further and new technologies that will eventually filter down to our Ultra High Performance road car products. With opportunities for young drivers to drive a Formula One car so limited, this is a great chance for Lucas and Jaime to not only hone their testing and development skills, but also to potentially follow our former test drivers like Romain Grosjean, Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld in returning to F1 or another top flight motorsport programme in future."