De la Rosa says he ‘deserved’ race seat

Pedro de la Rosa

(GMM) Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa has refused to criticize McLaren for failing to push him into the Force India race seat for the 2009 season.

Under the auspices of Force India's new technical collaboration with McLaren-Mercedes, the veteran Spaniard recently tested with the Silverstone based team.

But with Force India settling on an unchanged race lineup, de la Rosa said he accepts that his role this year will remain on the sidelines.

Asked by the Spanish radio sports program El Larguero if he expected better treatment for his loyalty, the 37-year-old said: "Good or bad, it is not up to me.

"I do deserve a seat, my quality of driving is better than it has ever been, especially since the removal of the electronic aids," he said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham.

"It's really difficult not being able to prove it. I have tried my hardest. It is important to me to remain hopeful of returning to race at least until the end of the year.

"I have been close (to returning) a couple of times, hopefully I will not lose hope," the Spaniard said, "but at the moment I have hope and that is why I am staying with the best team and saying no to other categories."

De la Rosa said he is currently under contract to McLaren, which he joined in 2003, for one more season.

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