Former Toro Rosso driver and BBC Radio pundit Jaime Alguersuari will join Brazilian Lucas di Grassi as a Pirelli test driver.
For the first time, Pirelli will have two permenant Formula 1 test drivers, after di Grassi carried out the role single-handedly last year.
Alguersuari and di Grassi will driver a 2010 Renault R30 – Pirelli‘s latest test car – in four development tests throughout the year. They will be defining the 2013 range of tyres, as well as testing compound developments that could be seen on track later this season.
“I'm very happy indeed to have this fantastic opportunity,” said Alguerusari, who was dropped by Toro Rosso at the end of last season. “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, who completed 18 races for Virgin in 2010, is glad to reprise his role from last year. “I'm delighted to be back for another year with Pirelli after an extremely successful first season of collaboration,” said the 27-year-old. “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 welcomed the duo to the new jobs.
“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,” he said. “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.”