- Auto Racing - Driver considers level of 'prestige'

Friday, February 2
Driver considers level of 'prestige'

MADRID -- Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa, replaced this week at Arrows by Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi, looked unlikely on Friday to accept a drive for Minardi this year.

Minardi is considering an all-Spanish team of the 29-year-old and Fernando Alonso but de la Rosa has made it clear that planning for the 2002 season is a higher priority than securing a drive for this year.

"I thank Minardi for their interest, but I am not sure if it is the most interesting offer at the moment," de la Rosa was quoted as saying in Spanish newspapers on Friday.

"Right now I don't have a drive for 2001, but that doesn't mean I am going to take the first thing that comes my way. I consider that I have a certain prestige and I want to make the most of it."

The Spaniard, who has also been linked with the Prost Team, said he may opt for the post of test driver this season in the hope of guaranteeing a drive in 2002.

"What really matters to me is securing a place in the 2002 championship," he said.

De la Rosa said that sponsorship behind Bernoldi had been the key to Arrows' decision to replace him.

"If a sponsor comes along prepared to invest more money and the team boss believes that getting a sponsor is more important than having a quality driver, then there is little I can do about it."

The driver was also upset that Arrows' announcement left him so little room for maneuver.

"This situation has occurred only a month before the beginning of the season. Announcing their decision so late is what has really hurt me. And that is my main complaint."


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