Caterham F1 has today confirmed that Giedo van der Garde will be the team's official reserve driver in 2012.
The 26-year-old, who won the Formula Renault
3.5 Series in 2008 and who has competed in GP2, F1's principal feeder category, for the last three years, will participate in the squad's pre-season tests and will also take part in a number of FP1 sessions throughout the year as a 'core part' of the team's driver line-up.
“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 F1,” said the Dutchman. “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.
“It's great for Holland that we again have a Dutch driver who is connected to F1. Being the only Dutch driver now is very good for the sport in Holland, as the interest was perhaps on the decline since the [Jos] Verstappen years, however I hope to generate the same excitement for my country and really bring F1 to them.
“I feel that the team as a whole is very ambitious. They appear to be very positive people and I think they are building up, growing and developing very quickly. I think this year they will be strong contenders! We'll see after the test but I really have a feeling that it's a big family here and they are pushing very hard to move up the grid.
“I feel very strong now, I'm fit, and I'm mentally ready. Of course I've spent a lot of time driving with guys who are now in F1 and I feel I'm ready for this. I'd like to thank McGregor and everybody who has supported me in my career and for helping me take this next exciting step.”
Tony Fernandes, Caterham F1 team principal, added he was 'delighted' to welcome van der Garde into the 'family' as a reserve driver.
“He is a very exciting prospect that we have been monitoring since the early days of our team,” Fernandes continued, “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 F1 with us.”