Monday February 5th, 2001
Alain Prost has admitted he has held talks with Arrows' refugee Pedro de la Rosa in order to sign him as test and reserve driver for the upcoming season.
De la Rosa was left out in the cold last week after the Arrows team announced their drivers line-up for the 2001 season, with Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi replacing him alongside Jos Verstappen.
Since that, there have been a lot of rumours which indicated the Spaniard was in line for a test drive with Prost, as it was revealed in the Atlas F1 Daily Grapevine last week and as Prost confirmed today.
Prost also criticised the rumours about de la Rosa replacing Argentinean Gaston Mazzacane at the wheel of his car after the San Marino Grand Prix, as it has been speculated for some time. However, despite his comments, the Frenchman didn't deny the story.
"We are looking for a third driver, obviously – a reserve driver, so we are talking to him," said Prost. "It's very interesting. He's by far the best choice possible.
"But to be very honest, I don't like very much all the rumours [about replacing Mazzacane], or the way they were done. I don't want to comment because I don't want to comment about the contracts or anything."
De la Rosa admitted there had been negotiations with the Prost team over the possibilities of taking on the role of test driver, but said that he also had other options.
"I have been in contact with other teams who have a slot free for a test driver, but I am only really interested if they can guarantee me a drive in the 2002 season," he said.
"Given what has happened, what I am really concerned about is the 2002 championship. This set-back has made me even more determined to carry on....It has never entered my head to give up."