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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.
Venezuelan racing driver Rodolfo Gonzalez will join Giedo van der Garde at Caterham Racing for this year's GP2 Series, the team announced on Monday.

"I am genuinely very pleased about our line up for 2012," said the team's CEO Nino Judge. "We welcome Rodolfo and Giedo into our Caterham Racing family. They bring the perfect combination of speed and experience, essential for success in GP2."

News of van der Garde's return for a fourth series of GP2 broke on Saturday, with the Dutch driver keen to use GP2 to keep him race-sharp in 2012 while he serves as Catherham F1's test and reserve driver.

"The link to the F1 team is a great advantage and I am very happy with that. I feel it's a big step up from where I was last year," insisted van der Garde. "It means I will go to all the F1 races, but I will race a full GP2 season too which keeps me sharp. Now we must make sure we are well prepared for testing and consistently score points throughout the season."

Rodolfo Gonzalez, van der Garde's new team mate for 2012, made his debut in GP2 in the same 2008-9 Asia series as the Dutchman did. Gonzalez was initially signed up by Fisichella Motor Sport and then moved to Trident for the main European GP2 Series in 2009. In 2010 he switched to Arden, and he spent last year with Trident Racing.

As well as GP2, Gonzalez has competed in Euroseries 3000, Formula Three Euroseries and Formula Renault 2.0. He was British F3 National Class champion in 2006.

"I am incredibly happy to be joining Caterham Racing this year and I can't wait to get going!" said the 25-year-old. "I believe this team will provide me with everything I need to help me up my game and have a successful season, in and out of the car."

Personal and career development are very much in the forefront of Gonzalez's mind coming into 2012, especially after having had a taste of F1 with the opportunity to take part in two consecutive Young Drivers' Tests in Abu Dhabi: in 2010 with the Lotus Racing T127 and last year in the T128.

"I had a very successful test with the F1 team in November where they provided me with all the right facilities and a great structure in which to learn," he said. "I am confident the technical team are strong and experienced and together we will create a good working environment. We have put together a very good package to help me develop and I am very happy to have this opportunity and to have a team such as this believe in me."




Related Pictures

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Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team). Round 4. Valencia Spain. 24th June 2011. Friday Qualifying. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Rodolfo Gonzalez (VEN) during testing in Jerez, Spain - October 2011. [Copyright: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service.]
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
The car of Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) is retrieved after a first lap accident at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. 6th September. Thursday 4 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. 6th September. Thursday 4 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Tom Dillmann (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Tom Dillmann (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Alexander Rossi (USA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Alexander Rossi (EQ8 Caterham Racing) leads the field at the start of the sprint race at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria. Sunday 22 June 2014. (Photo: Steven Tee/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS), Sergio Canamasas (CAN, Trident) & Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) after race 2 at Monte Carlo, Monaco on Saturday 24 May 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) & Mitch Evans (NZL, Russian Time) after qualifying at Monte Carlo, Monaco on Thursday 22 May 2014. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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sodesu

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.

UncleSam

February 28, 2012 4:11 PM

@JJJ 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.



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