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Caterham sign van der Garde

ESPNF1 Staff
February 4, 2012 « Alonso 'believes' in Ferrari skills | Force India 'ahead of the game' - Fernley »
Giedo van der Garde has taken three race wins in three years in GP2 © Sutton Images
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Caterham has announced Giedo van der Garde as its test and reserve driver for the 2012 season.

Van der Garde was linked with a drive at HRT this season, but after Narain Karthikeyan was given the second seat it has been confirmed that he will join Caterham. After an encouraging start to the GP2 season last year, van der Garde couldn't mount a sustained title challenge and eventually finished fifth with no victories. He said that he was excited by the ambition shown by Caterham and hoped to increase interest in Formula One in his native Holland.

"I'm very happy to become a part of the Caterham F1 Team family today and I'm very excited about the next step in my career within Formula 1," van der Garde said. "The team is fresh, with some fantastic people here. Tony Fernandes is extremely ambitious and he has brought in a lot of very good people in to help grow this team for future success. I'm looking forward to learning and moving forward with the team, in and out of the car.

"It's great for Holland that we again have a Dutch driver who is connected to Formula 1. Being the only Dutch driver now is very good for the sport in Holland, as the interest was perhaps on the decline since the Verstappen years, however I hope to generate the same excitement for my country and really bring Formula 1 to them."

Team principal Fernandes said that Caterham had been monitoring van der Garde for some time and believes he can make a valuable contribution to the team.

"We are delighted to welcome Giedo into the family as Reserve Driver. He is a very exciting prospect that we have been monitoring since the early days of our team, and we are all looking forward to seeing how he can help us develop throughout the season as we take our next steps towards the established midfield teams ahead.

"His performances in GP2, particularly in 2011, mark Giedo out as one of motorsport's brightest prospects, and securing him as Reserve Driver is a real coup for our team. I am sure he will flourish on and off track, and we wish him all the best as he takes the next step into Formula 1 with us."

Van der Garde will participate in pre-season testing as well as a number of Friday practice sessions as "a core part of the team's driver line-up".

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