The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test drivers, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, are an integral element of the team. In the following Q&A the two drivers discuss their role within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, their colleagues and their hopes for the 2007 season and beyond.
Pedro de la RosaPedro, what does it mean to you to be launching the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in your home country?
“It is extremely special to be launching the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in my country for two reasons: first, because I am Spanish and it is a honour that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have chosen my home country in front of my people. Second, because we are launching the team with Fernando, a fellow Spaniard and World Champion for whom I have a great respect.”How are you looking forward to working with Fernando and Lewis?
“Fernando is the first World Champion I have ever worked with. That, for me, is already a huge extra motivation. With Lewis we have already worked together in 2006 and get on well.”What are your personal aims for 2007?
“To help the team to become 2007 World Champions, both the Constructors' and Drivers' titles.”What motivates you in your role as test driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes?
“Working for a team that fights every season to win the World Championships, with top class drivers and top class engineers, mechanics, etc… That is what motivates me.”What are you thoughts on the MP4-22?
“My thoughts on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 are that we know what the weaknesses of the MP4-21 were. The engineers have been working hard to cure them, and I believe they have with the MP4-22. Anything else, we will have to wait until we have started to test the car."How have preparations been progressing with the MP4-22 at the McLaren Technology Centre and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines?
“Preparations have been going very well and in a very disciplined manner. I have been working on the simulator since July 2006 at the McLaren Technology Centre, with my main focus the MP4-22. Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines have been working quietly and informing us of all their progress. I feel everyone has done their homework and I am looking forward to starting work on developing the car prior to the Australian Grand Prix.”What makes you so passionate about Formula 1?
“I am passionate about Formula1 because when you drive a Formula 1 car to it's absolute limit, nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare to that feeling.”
Gary PaffettHow are you looking forward to working with Fernando and Lewis?
“I am really looking forward to working with Fernando. It's not every day that you get to work with a double Formula 1 World Champion. I feel he will bring a massive amount to the whole team. I have known Lewis for a long time as we both were Kart racing at a similar time. He knows he has some learning to do, but he has shown in GP2 that he's got a lot of talent.”Do you wish you were in a race seat with the team?
“Of course. Every drivers dream is to be a race driver in Formula 1 and I am no different. I will be doing my best to make that dream happen for 2008.”What are your personal aims for 2007?
“While helping the team develop the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 and building on my Formula 1 experience, I will also be contesting the DTM in Germany with Mercedes and hope to get back to winning some races again.”What motivates you in your role as test driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes?
“You get a great sense of achievement when the team does well. Even though you're not racing you know that you've been part of the development, and therefore helped the team succeed at the races.”What are you thoughts on the MP4-22?
“I haven't seen much of it yet but it sounds very promising. Over the winter testing we seem to have a stronger package than we did this time last year so I can't wait to see what the MP4-22 can give us.”
How have preparations been progressing with the MP4-22 at the McLaren Technology Centre and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines?
“We have been doing a massive amount of simulation work at the McLaren Technology Centre since the middle of last year, and we feel the development is going really well. HPE have a good understanding of the V8 engine and they seem to be making some fairly big steps forward.”What makes you so passionate about Formula 1?
“It is the pinnacle of Motorsport and is racing at its highest level. As a driver there is nothing better than winning in Formula 1 . The cars are awesome and the competition is harder than anything else you will experience.”Source McLaren