17 October 2013
Indian Grand Prix: Van der Garde targets return to form
Giedo van der Garde hopes that the Indian Grand Prix will see him return to form after Suzuka retirement
Giedo van der Garde says he hopes to bounce back from his retirement in Japan when F1 makes the trip to India next weekend for the latest event on the 2013 calendar.
The Dutch driver was forced to retire on the opening lap at Suzuka when he went off into the barriers at turn one, marking the first time he had failed to finish since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.
Van der Garde has previous experience of the Indian circuit from Friday practice last year, and said he was hopeful that the conditions would work in Caterham's favour as it seeks to try and battle ahead of Marussia in the standings.
“Japan obviously ended a whole lot earlier than planned and we've looked at all the data from the first lap off I had after the contact with Jules,” he said. “When I hit the barrier the impact registered around 20g which is by quite a long way one of the biggest accidents I've had in my career. It just shows how far F1 safety has come that I was out of the car and back in the team's hospitality unit within about 20 minutes and when I looked at the shots after the race I realised that it was, honestly, quite a lot of a bigger shunt than it had felt like in the car.
“So, on to India and another track I tried for the first time last year in FP1. It's a proper drivers track, one that has elevation changes and a few really challenging corners and there's a couple of overtaking opportunities, especially turn four at the end of the long straight.
“It's going to be hot and hotter track conditions have suited us all year so the aim is to maintain the gap to our nearest competitors throughout the weekend and get back to fighting cars ahead on Sunday afternoon, putting ourselves in a position to take advantage of anything that happens up ahead.”
Team-mate Charles Pic meanwhile said he was confident of a strong showing on race day.
“I raced for the first time in India last year and, like most of the drivers have said, it's a great track, one of the best of the modern era,” he said. “I had a strong race there in 2012, particularly at the start where I made up five places, so the aim is obviously to do the same again in 2013 and keep pushing the teams ahead where we can.
“The track itself is a good mix of a few quick bits, especially into turn five and through ten and eleven for example, and a bit more stop / start like turns one, two and three, but the main thing is to find a good rhythm around the whole lap to get the most out of the car, like Spa for example.
“As the track evolves so much over the weekend you don't really find the quickest pace until quali and then the race itself as the track is so dusty on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning. They did make some improvements last year to help manage that, including washing the track each evening, so hopefully it will be better again this year.”
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