Despite the ever-tightening test restrictions, McLaren still needs its full compliment of drivers, company chairman Ron Dennis insists.

Despite the ever-tightening test restrictions, McLaren still needs its full compliment of drivers, company chairman Ron Dennis insists.

The Mercedes-powered team's primary development and reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa announced this week that, due to the diminished role for testers, he will leave formula one at the end of 2009 if he cannot secure a return to a race cockpit.

"If I cannot race and I cannot even test, I will go to another category," the 38-year-old is quoted as telling the Spanish press.

But while de la Rosa has been scheduled only a few days of testing for the entire year, McLaren continues to rely on the contribution of both the Spaniard and his test deputy Gary Paffett, Dennis insisted.

"I think one of the questions that would be on everybody's lips is, when you are not testing between the first and the last race how come we've got four drivers?" he is quoted as saying by the news agency Reuters.

"But we are fully committed to exploring every possibility as regards how we develop the car and of course we need a reserve driver, that's Pedro, and we need a lot of capacity for our simulator," added Dennis.

McLaren's simulator is credited as being perhaps the industry leader, meaning that much of the forbidden track work can now be shifted to the factory.

"For that to work you really have to have drivers with all the same attributes that are expected of a driver when he actually tests the car on the circuit," Dennis explained.

The World Motor Sport Council this week ruled that, notwithstanding the in-season test ban, teams may conduct eight one-day straight-line tests this season.

Additionally, three days of circuit testing can take place between the end of the 2009 season finale and new year's eve, so long as the drivers used are rookies.

 

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