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Pirelli to keep de la Rosa, Lotus not signing Chandhok yet

Pedro de la Rosa looks likely to remain Pirelli’s primary test driver this year.

The Spaniard admitted this week that, contrary to reports, a return to McLaren as reserve driver is unlikely, having failed to compile enough sponsorship to return to the grid with HRT.

It was also reported that his back-up plan for 2011 was to stay with F1’s new tyre supplier Pirelli, even though the Italian marque has not decided how to replace the ageing 2009 Toyota.

“Yes,” answered Pirelli’s Paul Hembery when asked at Valencia if de la Rosa, 39, is staying on board for 2011.

“(He will stay) unless he gets a drive somewhere else in F1, which is not looking likely at the moment.

“He is a great test driver, we’re delighted with what he’s been doing with us,” added Hembery.

Hembery also denied that Pirelli has already decided to visibly distinguish the different compounds this year by using different coloured branding on the sidewalls.

“That is still under discussion with the marketing people,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, contrary to reports that Karun Chandhok has definitely signed to be a reserve driver with Team Lotus this year, the Indian clarified that he has in fact not yet reached a deal.

The former HRT driver was at Valencia wearing a Lotus jacket on Wednesday, but boss Tony Fernandes said he was just a “guest” of the team.