GP2 » Gonzalez joins van der Garde at Caterham

Venezuela's Rodolfo Gonzalez has been signed up to join Caterham Racing GP2 squad for the 2012 season, alongside Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde.

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February 27, 2012 4:46 PM

Just when Caterham appear that they have their act together, they go and sign two drivers that cannot produce any results. This GP2 team is two wasted seats, that could have been used to produce drivers for the future of the F1 team. I hope Alexander Rossi can break his development contract with Caterham and sign on with another team, because they are holding him back. I can guarantee that Rossi would outscore both of these drivers by himself, simply a pathetic move by the team.


February 27, 2012 9:02 PM

Van der Garde is not as bad as some make him out to be actually, he has a pretty solid CV - if a bit up-and-down. Just because he's got sponsors behind him people think he's a rubbish pay driver. However I think this year is (or should be) win or bust for him. He's shown he can win the odd race but it really is time to show he can put together a whole season too. Gonzalez on the other hand is mediocre at best and a really embarrassing signing for this team, who claim to be serious about racing.

JJJ - Unregistered

February 27, 2012 11:38 PM

van der Garde is ok, he's not the biggest talent out there maybe, but he wouldn't make a fool out of himself in F1. He actually won several titles in karting, won WSBR and then did ok in his debut GP2 season with iSport, easlily beating his teammate and picking up 1 feature and 2 sprint races.

His problem has been the two years at Barwa after that. First he got outshone by Perez'blinding speed coupled to a couple problems with his car (did 2 races with a shoddy engine) and last year he ruined the last half of the season. He needs to change his approach from scoring consistent points to just take all the risks and go all out for feature races with this one last chance basically.

As for Gonzalez I think he's a bit out of his depth in GP2, though to be fair he has spent most of his time with the wrong teams. He's not the obvious choice but I believe he actually did ok with his F1 tests so maybe that's why they gave him the nod (he's not going to bring much more money than others for GP2

JJJ - Unregistered

February 27, 2012 11:52 PM


I think Alexander Rossi is definitely the brightest prospect for the next American F1 driver, but he needs to show just a little bit more still to really be in the picture. 3rd in WSBR is respectable, but really you need to either outright win WSBR or win races in GP2 to be considered for F1 these days. The guy is still young so he has a couple of years left to prove himself but save some of the RB guys and Di Resta (who won Euro F3 and DTM) pretty much all the new F1 entrants in the last couple of years have been 1st or 2nd in various GP2 championships.


February 28, 2012 1:26 AM
Last Edited 1445 days ago


I agree with most of what you said but to produce results in GP2, you must actually race in GP2. Rossi is supposed to be the lead development driver for Caterham, but are they really developing him? He will likely end up racing once a month in WSR again this season. I realize he is young, but he is capable and fast. Instead of wasting a seat on Gonzalez, they should have put him that seat. He is supposed to the future of their team, why not allow him to gain experience and get used to running more frequently? He has already won races against Vergne and Ricciardo, so I see no reason why he would not be ready for GP2. This move is frustrating to me. It is not like GP2 has an enormous amount of title contenders, half the field are pay drivers and not there because of their talent. Rossi has proven himself more than worthy to be in GP2.

sauber11 - Unregistered

February 28, 2012 11:23 AM

Agreed with UncleSam . Big fan of Alexander Rossi I am, its not fair whats happening right now ( with Gonzalez in gp2 with Caterham and Rossi in a newcomer WSR team) unless Rossi is given several amount of Friday practice in F1.
BTW , Nino Judge (caterham gp2 ceo) commented ,that they signed their gp2 drivers in late november .

In 2011 Caterham had 2 experienced drivers in f1 and very promising talent Rossi to promote and all looked good, now they prefered Petrov and Garde and Rossi currently is nowhere ( they need him just because GE,Dell and CNN are all american sponsors)

I understand Fernandes drivers decisions, but i dont like them. Alexander could become very top caterham driver ( even better than current Kovalainen) but they preffered to save 1 million euro on him. Cheap decision...

JJJ - Unregistered

February 28, 2012 12:38 PM

@UncleSam: yeah the GP2 field seems(!) to be a bit softer than usual this year and I agree Rossi would probably be able to do quite well there if he was given a decent seat. Maybe they intended to put Rossi in the seat next to Gonzalez and then van der Garde came along and to give him a real shot at an F1 drive for them next year it made sense to let him do GP2 this year. Still doesn't explain choosing 25 y/o Gonzalez over 20 y/o Rossi though, at least not if they have long term plans with Rossi...

@sauber11: I doubt that very much in case of vd Garde. He has been saying he was interested in F1 not another season of GP2 the whole time and I'm pretty sure he was in serious talks with HRT (fi, caterham anouncement 1 day after karthikeyan was confirmed) so he would not have signed on for GP2 in November.


February 28, 2012 4:11 PM

That is what is disturbing to me, what is Caterham's level of commitment to actually developing young drivers. Their program appears to be nothing but a public relations tool at the moment. One would think that amongst the many things Caterham is replicating from Red Bull, they would see the value of rapidly advancing their development drivers. This not only advances the driver and the team, but also builds confidence and loyalty by those in the development program from karting all the way to the F1 level. I believe that if BMW had not ceased its operations Rossi would already be in F1, because they believed in him. Caterham is wasting his abilities.

nicolas - Unregistered

February 29, 2012 10:06 PM

Apparently the team had a choice of 6 drivers for the 3 spaces in GP2 and WSR. So it was a mater for picking the best combination of talent and money to finance the who thing.
Considering they havn't even got half of red bull's budget I think they are doing a a good job.
Thier dev drivers get a lot of FP1's which is more then the Red Bull reserve drivers get !

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