Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul insists that Giedo van der Garde deserves his chance in F1 during the season ahead.
The Dutchman will partner Charles Pic in a new look line-up for 2013 having finally managed to secure his place on the grid after a number of seasons being linked with a race seat.
Van der Garde will be the oldest rookie on the grid this year at the age of 27, but Abiteboul said the former Formula Renault
3.5 champion was just as a deserving as some of the younger racers coming through the ranks.
“Giedo has his F1 chance after several years of knocking on the door, and I think he fully deserves it,” Abiteboul told the official F1 website. “Throughout his career he has raced alongside, against, and sometimes beaten, many of the drivers who will be on the grid with him in Melbourne. He has also been with us since last year in the role of reserve driver, and when you look at the amount of information that needs to be exchanged between the drivers and the team to obtain the maximum from the package, this knowledge of each other will greatly help, both in the final stage of the winter preparations and in the first races of the season.
“Both drivers have joined us at an exciting time for the team, with our base at Leafield now moving towards operating at full strength, a number of blue-chip partners supporting us and with our roadcar project with Renault
taking us into the realms of manufacturer teams. We know both Giedo and Charles can operate at the level we need them to on and off the track.”
Caterham has been realistic in its targets for the year ahead with its new pairing and Abiteboul said the team was taking a longer term view in what it hopes to achieve rather than just considering the year ahead.
“It may not sound very exciting, but the main target for this year is to make sure we now fully understand and control our development and manufacturing processes,” he said. “Accurately predicting and measuring the level of performance we expect on track will mean that we have grown and become a reliable technical group. Obviously, an expression of that should be a clear trend of a reduction of the gap to the midfield over the course of the season, but I am keen to get this done with style and within reason, with one eye always on the longer-term plans.”