|10||14||Di Resta||Force India||1:31.797||1.381||40|
|20||21||Van der Garde||Caterham||1:33.804||3.388||40|
Caterham’s driver line-up has been completed after the team announced on Friday that Giedo van der Garde will partner Charles Pic in 2013. Van der Garde was the team’s test driver in 2012 while he raced in GP2, and has now been promoted into a full-time F1 race seat.
The choice of drivers for 2013 shows a dramatic change in strategy for the Caterham team. In 2012, the extremely experienced Finn Heikki Kovalainen led the team and was partnered by Russian Vitaly Petrov, who had two seasons under his belt before arriving at Caterham. For 2013, Pic is the senior driver, but he only driven in F1 for a single season at Marussia, and Van der Garde is a rookie.
The reasons for the change in driver selection policy are clear – the team wants to move forward technically, and to do that it needs more money. Kovalainen was paid a salary last year, while Petrov brought sponsorship to the team. This year, both drivers bring funding to the team. Nonetheless, it is clear that both Pic and Van der Garde are capable behind the wheel. Pic had an impressive debut season, challenging his experienced Marussia team-mate Timo Glock throughout 2012. Van der Garde scored two wins and six podiums on the way to sixth in the 2012 GP2 championship.
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said of the appointment, “This is the next natural step for Giedo with our team. We continue to grow as a team and we are committed to giving young talent across the motorsport industry the chance to grow with us and this is Giedo’s opportunity to show he deserves his place at the very highest level of global motorsport. He and Charles [Pic] have been team-mates before so he is an excellent choice to partner Charles in what is going to be another very interesting season, and we are all looking forward to seeing Giedo continue to progress as he takes on the ultimate challenge of F1.”
Giedo van der Garde expressed his eagerness to get started in 2013: “I know I am ready to take the step up to F1 and all the work I have done throughout my career, and particularly in the last year with this team, has brought me to my ultimate goal. Throughout 2012 I was able to fully integrate myself into the team, both through the FP1 sessions I ran at a number of tracks that were then new to me, and as Reserve Driver, fully embedded with the team throughout the season.
“Now I can continue to learn at the highest level of motorsport and show that I am ready for F1. I cannot wait to start work.”
The new Caterham F1 car – the CT03 – will be launched at the track in Jerez, Spain on Tuesday 5 February before hitting the track for the start of testing.
Caterham have announced today that Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde has joined the team as the official Reserve Driver. He will participate in pre-season testing and drive in some of the Free Practice sessions throughout the season.
Van der Garde raced in GP2 in 2011, finishing fifth in the standings for the Barwa Addax team. He was a candidate to drive for Virgin in 2011. With Caterham in 2012, he will be hoping to make a good enough impression to land a race drive in 2013.
Team Principal Tony Fernandes said: “We are delighted to welcome Giedo into the family as Reserve Driver. He is a very exciting prospect that we have been monitoring since the early days of our team, and we are all looking forward to seeing how he can help us develop throughout the season as we take our next steps towards the established midfield teams ahead.
“His performances in GP2, particularly in 2011, mark Giedo out as one of motorsport’s brightest prospects, and securing him as Reserve Driver is a real coup for our team. I am sure he will flourish on and off track, and we wish him all the best as he takes the next step into Formula 1 with us.”
Van der Garde on his appointment: “I’m very happy to become a part of the Caterham F1 Team family today and I’m very excited about the next step in my career within Formula 1. The team is fresh, with some fantastic people here. Tony Fernandes is extremely ambitious and he has brought in a lot of very good people in to help grow this team for future success. I’m looking forward to learning and moving forward with the team, in and out of the car.”
Testing begins on Tuesday 7 February where the new Caterham CT01 car will be in action.