The Spanish veteran has visited not only the team's new Paterna headquarters in Valencia, but also the technical base in Munich, where the new car is being built.
"From what little I've seen, the most elegant car is the McLaren," the British team's former long-time test driver said.
"The step in the nose of the others is ugly, but it's a technical solution that many teams are taking because of the regulations.
"Ours will more than likely also have a step, maybe not as aggressive (as some)," de la Rosa told Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
The 2012 HRT, however, is not ready, so de la Rosa will drive the old car at Jerez this week, painted all white.
"I don't care about that; what matters is to maximise every mile, take off the rust and integrate into my new team," he said.
It has been yet another difficult period for HRT, with new ownership and the split with boss Colin Kolles, whose German based operation was the heartbeat of the team in 2010 and 2011.
"The team is entirely new," admitted de la Rosa, "mechanics, engineers, motor homes.
"Where there was nothing, now there is a formula one team. I am seeing familiar faces, people I have worked with at different teams, and also Spanish people, some of them from Epsilon (Euskadi).
"So a mix of experience in F1, Le Mans or World Series -- the base is good.
"We are starting from scratch with a new group of people. That's why I have signed for two years; I know that is the minimum we need to get everything started."
HRT's latest blow is the loss of its technical director Jacky Eeckelaert, whose expired contract was not renewed.