There are rumours suggesting that Giedo van der Garde will replace Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel of the #20 Caterham during first free practice at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Although there has been no official confirmation from Caterham, paddock sources insist that the switch will happen, with GP2 Series racewinner van der Garde getting a second opportunity to measure himself against the rest of the F1 field when the action kicks off at Suzuka on Friday. The Dutchman is the team's official reserve this season and took its feeder series team to two wins, including in the final round of the year in Singapore a couple of weekends ago.

With backing from Dutch fashion house McGregor, van de Garde's name will almost certainly crop up in connection with vacancies towards the back of the grid next season, and could even be in line for a race seat at Caterham should either Kovalainen or Vitaly Petrov move on. The Finn, is more widely believed to be staying put, has been mentioned in connection with possible openings at both Ferrari and McLaren in recent weeks, while Petrov's manager continues to claim that her charge may find more gainful employment outside the top flight, despite this week being mentioned in the same breath as Sergio Perez's recently vacated seat at Sauber.

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van der Garde, who used this summer's Caterham demo in Rotterdam to propose to his girlfriend, was linked to the Williams team during the winter, before finally singing his reserve deal with Tony Fernandes' squad.