BMW SAUBER HAS finalised its 2010 driver line-up after announcing it has signed Spanish veteran Pedro de la Rosa to pair up with rookie sensation Kamui Kobayashi.
De la Rosa will return as a full-time driver after spending seven years in a reserve and test role with McLaren, which saw the 38-year-old make eight starts as a replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2006.
Before his time at McLaren, de la Rosa spent four years racing for Arrows and Jaguar, and became one of only 57 drivers to score a point on debut at the 1999 Australian Grand Prix.
Team boss Peter Sauber believes de la Rosa's experience developing World Championship winning cars will prove invaluable as the outfit seeks to re-establish itself following BMW's withdrawal.
"Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level," he said. "We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui.
"The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one. I don't expect either of them to disappoint in 2010.
"Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty."
Boasting a best result of second at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, de la Rosa said he was thrilled to have gained an opportunity to finally return to the F1 grid.
"I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver," he said. "Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards.
"I'm really excited about the season with Peter Sauber's team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula 1 ever since 1993."
De la Rosa was considered an outside chance to claim the Sauber drive, with Giancarlo Fisichella previously believed to have been poised to snare the role due to his affiliation with Ferrari, who will be the team's engine supplier.
Despite BMW's exit, the team has retained the Munich company's moniker as the FIA World Motor Sport Council is yet to ratify a name change.