Even as Crash.net was speculating on the future of 2013 Caterham F1 drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, the Dutchman was being confirmed as Sauber's latest test and reserve driver.

The 27-year old made his belated race debut with Caterham last season but, with the Leafield team set to move in another direction in 2014, has thrown his lot in with Sauber in the hope of returning to the front line in future.

van der Garde, who claimed to have had several options open to him before the end of last season, got his first taste with one-off outings between 2007-09, before nailing down various testing roles in 2012. All the while, he was becoming one of the most experienced GP2 Series drivers of all time, racking up four years in the feeder series before finally being given an F1 race opportunity by Tony Fernandes.

"We are happy to have Giedo on board," Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said, "He has four years experience in GP2 and he drove one year in F1 and these are good credentials to work successfully with our team. Many times Giedo has shown his talent as a race driver. At the same time, the team would like to support him to further develop his skills. Giedo has the right attitude to take the next step forward."

Although the previous incumbent at Sauber, Robin Frijns, found his opportunities limited at Hinwil, and Russia's Sergey Sirotkin is already engaged with the team, van der Garde - who is expected to have brought his McGregor fashion brand backing with him - has been told that he will be driving in both Friday practice at grands prix and in several test sessions planned for the 2014 season.

"I consider this an important step in my career," van der Garde insisted, "It is my goal to help the team with the development of the new car. But, of course, I am a racing driver, and I want to show the team and everybody else what I am capable of and that I deserve a race seat with the Sauber F1 Team in 2015. After all, my ambition remains unchanged and I am highly motivated to succeed in F1, especially in the long term."

"I am very thankful to Caterham that they gave me a chance to get a taste of F1. I enjoyed a fantastic season with the team and I have learned a lot. The experience gained will surely help me during the rest of my career."

"For now, I am really very excited to have signed a contract with the Sauber F1 Team. For every driver it is a dream to work for a well established team such as Sauber. In recent years it has shown impressive results. I am really grateful for this opportunity and I will certainly do my upmost to succeed."

Frijns, like van der Garde a former World Series by Renault champion, is rumoured to be moving in the opposite direction to fill the reserve role at Caterham for 2014.


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