Lucas di Grassi has today been confirmed as Pirelli‘s latest test driver, and will help to develop the latest generation of Formula 1 tyre by driving the Italian company’s Toyota TF109 test car.
The Brazilian will also attend some grand prix weekends with Pirelli this year, starting with this weekend’s race at Silverstone, in order to collect information and pass on his experience during technical debriefs.
The 26-year-old, who drove for the Virgin Racing team last season, has also been a test driver for Renault and finished in the top three of the GP2 championship in each of the three seasons from 2007-2009.
“Pirelli has done a fantastic job so far in a very short space of time and I'm looking forward to helping to make the P Zero tyres even better in the future: not just for the drivers and teams but for the spectators as well,” said Di Grassi. “This is a great opportunity for me to get more time behind the wheel of a Formula One car – which is difficult these days because of the current testing regulations – and also to use my knowledge to help make a real difference to the sport.”
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery recognises the importance of the test driver in developing each tyre, and explained why Di Grassi was chosen.
“A significant part of our tyre development stems from the feedback we receive from our test driver, so this is an absolutely crucial appointment,” he said. “Lucas has impressed us not only with his pace, which is vital if we are going to accurately simulate racing conditions, but also his technical feedback to the engineers. I'm delighted to welcome Lucas into the team.”