Giedo van der Garde is looking forward to next weekend's Italian Grand Prix, confident that Monza will be another favourable venue for the Caterham team.
Although his 16th place at Spa-Francorchamps last time out was not enough to lift the Leafield squad out of last place in the F1 constructors' standings, the Dutchman – who made it through to Q2 for the second time this season – insists that Caterham now has the upper hand on Marussia, which occupies tenth overall thanks to Jules Bianchi's 13th place in Malaysia.
Refusing to talk about his future in the top flight – the rumour mill suggests anything from a 'one and done' F1 career to options at a range of teams, including Force India
[ see separate story
] – van der Garde insists that he is focused on the remaining eight races of 2013 with a view to improving both himself and Caterham before the chequered flag falls at Interlagos.
“Monza is another classic grand prix venue and a track where I've won in both Formula Renault
3.5 and in GP2,” he noted, “After the last couple of races, I'll go there feeling positive about the next race and the rest of the season.
“The whole team had a lot of praise for what we did in Spa, particularly taking advantage of the conditions on Saturday, and it's good to see people understanding that what we're doing now is exactly what we said we would do this year – learn, improve and deliver the results we want.”
Although some of the focus at Leafield will have turned to next year's car, particularly with the significant changes looming on the technical front, van der Garde is optimistic that Caterham can continue to push forward with the CT03 in pursuit of the result that could bring another notable payday to the team.
“[Finishing] 14th in Hungary and both qualifying and the race in Spa show how the package is coming on and it's a good feeling for me and the whole team,” he insisted, “Monza is a track that could suit us in the fight with our nearest competitors. It's often hot and it's the quickest track of the year, one where we run very low downforce settings and that should suit our car.
“Last year the team was pretty competitive and we'll aim to make sure we are again. If it's not hot and we have anything like the conditions we did in Spa, then we've shown we can take advantage of unpredictable weather, and even though another P3 in Q1 might be unlikely, we still know we can be bold and aggressive when there's a chance to surprise a few people. Maybe our next chance will be Monza – if not I'm sure there will be other races this year when we can show what we can do.”