Van der Garde completes Caterham’s line-up

2013 F1 season

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Yas Marina, 2012Giedo van der Garde has been confirmed as Caterham’s second driver for 2013.

He joins Charles Pic in an all-new driver pairing for the team who fielded Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov last year.

“I know I am ready to take the step up to F1 and all the work I have done throughout my career, and particularly in the last year with this team, has brought me to my ultimate goal,” said van der Garde.

“Throughout 2012 I was able to fully integrate myself into the team, both through the FP1 sessions I ran at a number of tracks that were then new to me, and as Reserve Driver, fully embedded with the team throughout the season.

“Now I can continue to learn at the highest level of motorsport and show that I am ready for F1. I cannot wait to start work.”

Van der Garde is already familiar with the team having driven for them in practice sessions on six occasions last year. He also drove for their GP2 team and finished sixth in the category last year which was the fourth year in a row he placed inside the top seven.

The 27-year-old will be the first Dutch driver to compete in Formula One since Christijan Albers in the 2007 British Grand Prix.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “This is the next natural step for Giedo with our team. We continue to grow as a team and we are committed to giving young talent across the motorsport industry the chance to grow with us and this is Giedo?s opportunity to show he deserves his place at the very highest level of global motorsport.

“He and Charles have been team-mates before so he is an excellent choice to partner Charles in what is going to be another very interesting season, and we are all looking forward to seeing Giedo continue to progress as he takes on the ultimate challenge of F1.”

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82 comments on Van der Garde completes Caterham’s line-up

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  1. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 1st February 2013, 15:00

    We all saw it coming, but it’s still disappointing to have it verified. Not good news for the sport when everyone is fielding rookies to save money.

    I can’t think of anything else where the skill of the athlete is the least important factor in deciding a team.

    • Rafke said on 1st February 2013, 15:11

      Yeah, especially when the rookie is 27 years old…

    • ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 1st February 2013, 15:56

      Have to admit, even as a Malaysian (Caterham flies the Jalur Gemilang, go figure), this has taken a bit of the shine away from Caterham. I personally loved it when they fielded Heikki and Jarno, two (moderately, in Heikki’s case) experienced hands, slugging it out with the new kids on the block.

    • Roald (@roald) said on 1st February 2013, 16:05

      I think people are looking at this in the wrong way. Now I know I’m Dutch and commenting on a Dutch driver joining the grid, but this goes for most “pay-drivers” currently under contract, especially in the bottom two teams… it’s not like Marussia and Caterham would archieve anything more if they signed former world champions than if they signed rookies. They’re at the far end of the field and better drivers probably won’t get them higher in the rankings. Faster cars will and for that they need money. It’s not like they signed Jean-Denis Délétraz after all, they’re solid drivers. Perhaps they won’t extract 100% out of the car, but at the level Marussia and Caterham are playing at, does it really matter much if their drivers are in it for 95% of the maximum performance they could possibly get out of the car? Now I know 10th place in the constructor’s championship is important but the only reason it ever seemed close was luck on Marussia’s part, Caterham built a better car for 3 years in a row now.

      They might be faster than we expect them to be and without a doubt their money will push the bottom teams further along. Isn’t that we all want?

      A team like Sauber signing Gutierrez is much worse in my humble opinion, they were in it for the podiums last year and could be throwing away some of them by having a mediocre driver in their cockpit. They’ve got a lot more to lose.

      • N7 (@m77) said on 1st February 2013, 16:11

        I agree with this guy. Backmarker teams have regularly fielded pay drivers, especially historically – we should be grateful that the current crop of pay drivers are GP2/FR3.5 championship contenders/winners, not the no-hoper rich kids of the 1990s.

      • Enigma (@enigma) said on 1st February 2013, 17:24

        @roald You’re right in that respect, as a few tenths a lap doesn’t make much of a difference if you’re at the back anyway. But on the other hand, hiring an experienced driver is much better than a rookie. I felt HRT did a great move last year with Pedro de la Rosa, and I’m sure his experience and technical knowledge helps a small team vastly.

        • Roald (@roald) said on 1st February 2013, 17:27

          @enigma What would the help result in though? Being 0.01s a lap faster than they were before? Does that really matter when you’re off the pace by a second a lap and when money can bring updates that make the car 0.1s a lap faster?

      • pinecone (@pinecone) said on 2nd February 2013, 2:39

        Unfortunately, in Caterham’s case, I don’t think choosing two paydrivers means that the team has more money to spend. It just means that Fernandes has to spend less money to fund his F1 team.

        Caterham Cars now builds new Alpine sport cars with Renault, and this project eats a lot of cash. If Fernandes can spend less money in his F1 team, then he has more money to build Alpine sport cars. So getting two unexperienced paydrivers is good for Caterham Cars, but it’s bad news for Caterham F1 Team.

  2. loki_0420 (@loki0420) said on 1st February 2013, 15:04

    Stupid move from Caterham. Seems the only thing they look at was amount of money driver brought. Petrov who has money also is not only better driver but would provide some stability which is vital if they considering fighting anyone but Marussia.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st February 2013, 15:25

      If it gives them the money to step up and invest solidly for 2014, when there might be a real chance to make up some ground, I am fine with it.
      And VdGarde is a solid if not great driver, Pic showed to be surprisingly good last year too.

    • I don’t think it is that stupid, the difference a driver can make on a backmarker car is very small unless the guy has huge talent. A experienced driver can and will have his pace easily matched by lesser drivers if the limit is the possibilities of the car.

      Besides vdG has shown that he can match the pace of Petrov despite Petrov sitting in the car for the whole season already and should know the car like the back of his hand.

      Modern paydrivers are all championship contenders in the GP2 or FR3.5 so it not as bad as it used to be with paydrivers sometimes.

  3. Well in fairness to Giedo he has had some success in the junior categories in comparison with the likes of Max Chilton..Still very dissapointing to see the likes of Kovalainen, Kobayashi,Glock and possibly Sutil on the sidelines next year. All these guys deserve a place in the sport far more than these money men!!

  4. Girts (@girts) said on 1st February 2013, 15:09

    I’m extremely disappointed but one could see it coming. I wish van der Garde all the best and hope he will do well with Caterham. Even if he’s not 20 anymore and is currently not regarded as a future champion, he still has been a front runner in the GP2 series for many years, which makes his CV very respectable.

    I don’t blame Caterham either although I understand that they have had bigger budget than Marussia so far and are still in a better financial shape. They haven’t succeeded in managing the expectations very well, the last season was a disappointment and I hope they have explained Kovalainen, why their optimistic initial plans failed and why the team now must take a new direction.

    F1 shouldn’t be some utopian socialist country but the way the money is ruling the sport at the moment, is really depressing.

  5. Candice said on 1st February 2013, 15:09

    i understand mcgregor sponsor VDG. is it sufficient to guarantee him a seat??

    weird choice.

  6. Ivan B (@njoydesign) said on 1st February 2013, 15:11

    In a way, I understand. The team has seen 0(ZERO) progress over last 3 years and even if they got Vettel and Alonso to drive for them they would still be at the bottom of the list.

    On the other hand, the person that brought them their highest finish position ever with the 10mil bonus is shown the door. Not to mention he also had sponsors. ***?

    I was rooting for this team. A lot. Not anymore. Greedy losers

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 1st February 2013, 20:26

      Well, you may be right. But in all honesty I would rather have a morally flawed team, as you perceive Caterham, than another two empty spaces on the grid.
      Imagine the worst with Marussia and Caterham unable to field cars because they can’t afford to carry on without accepting pay drivers. All of a sudden we are down to 18 cars. I don’t actually like what Caterham and Marussia are doing, but in some ways the alternative is even worse for the sport.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st February 2013, 15:13

    Van der Garde and Pic were also team mates at Addax in GP2 two years ago. Pic narrowly beat him 52 to 49. Updated biography here:

    Giedo van der Garde biography

  8. mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 1st February 2013, 15:14

    there aint going to be a formula 1 if this keeps happening

  9. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 1st February 2013, 15:16

    Disapointing, he never showed anything exceptionel in GP2, I know a pay driver when I see one.

  10. Matthew (@f1matt) said on 1st February 2013, 15:19

    Lets be totally honest

    Pic/van der Garde and Chilton/Razia must be two of the most tepid, uninspiring money orientated line ups for a long time.

    Not that I could do any better of course.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st February 2013, 15:29

      pretty much what we all said of Maldonado 2 years back @f1matt

      • Matthew (@f1matt) said on 1st February 2013, 16:45

        Very true!

        Believe me, I really hope I am proved wrong because I want 22 (24) competitive drivers in F1.

        Regards Pastor, he did win the GP2 title so I don’t think he can be included in the same apprehensive vein as the aforementioned four.

        I do feel that F1 is weaker without Kovalainen & Glock but their talent was not being fully exploited at Caterham/Marussia anyway.

      • Denis 68 said on 2nd February 2013, 2:05

        Maldonado is a GP2 Champion.

        Van Der Garde, Chilton and Razia are not.

    • hobbsy009 (@hobbsy009) said on 1st February 2013, 15:31

      The whole second half of the grid is pretty uninspiring to be honest, with the exception of Williams and possibly Di Resta

    • Liam Stroud (@comabvbsixx) said on 1st February 2013, 22:23

      From what Marussia were saying Pic’s a prospect!

      Give them a chance, Jesus.

  11. Duchess (@duchess) said on 1st February 2013, 15:25

    Disappointing. And gross. ugh.

  12. And on a positive note, its very nice to have a dutch driver again in F1!!
    Sure Kova en Koba are far better drivers, but as a dutchman you can’t blame me for being a bit excited.

  13. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 1st February 2013, 15:28

    I think people are being a bit harsh here. Backmarker teams are not the place for rising stars of the future. Certainly not for anyone you might think of as a potential world champion. Drivers like Kovalainen and Glock are, frankly, better than a backmarker team really needs. Ultimately what difference does it make? These two teams will still be the slowest on the grid no matter who drives for them. So the decision to take on some extra money by employing some slightly more steady paced drivers who come with big pocketbooks, it’s totally the right choice to make. The money they bring will be worth far more to them than the couple of tenths a lap that a top level driver might deliver.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st February 2013, 15:34

      I feel much the same. Sure its a shame about how the sport operates that we have teams having to go for this kind of solutions. But its better to save the money, invest in a good basis for a step ahead in 2014, and maybe take on great talents then. After all if the car is as far back as these are, not even a Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton or a Schumacher are going to bring podiums.

      But Pic already showed he is fine, Maldonado (who was rated about the same as Razia and Valsecchi are now) proved he is a winner and VdGarde will do the job of hunting down the STR almost as good as Petrov or Heikki would have been able to do. And the upside is they might actually surprise.

  14. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 1st February 2013, 15:28

    Very disappointed. On one hand I’ve always like Finnish drivers. But this pay-driver thing really ****** me off. I’ve just un-liked Caterham from Facebook and the number of Likes is going down for them very fast. Just go check it out yourself
    #unlikecaterham (lets twitter-trend)

    • Oople said on 1st February 2013, 20:51

      But what will that do?
      Reduce their popularity even further…
      Reduce the willingness of some businesses to sponsor them…
      Force them to find Pay Drivers with even more Sponsors to counteract the above…

      Great work making F1 a better place :X

  15. GeoCucc (@geocucc) said on 1st February 2013, 15:33

    If Razia and Bianchi gets the last two seats, that would mean 6 new drivers in Melbourne, and the last time we got this much rookies in a race was at the 1962 South African GP!

    Certainly that would be the stats and facts of the year ( ;) ), but besides it really tells us, that something is going to the wrong way in F1…

  16. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 1st February 2013, 15:34

    Not a Caterham fan but people slating them and saying ‘but Kamui and Petrov deserves the seat moar’ need to remember that both where just as underwhelming as Giedo in GP2 but turned out to be pretty decent in F1.

    I mean give the guy a chance, it’s not like Caterham are the only team fielding pay drivers. The so called ‘established teams’ also have their fair share of mediocre pay drivers *cough*Gutierrez*cough*

  17. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 1st February 2013, 15:41

    Lost all respect I had for them. Van der Garde? A real F1 level driver, sure

    Sad days for F1 keep on coming one after another. Any true F1 fan should feel concerned and downbeat by this chain of events. The direction F1 is heading for is the direction of death. And yes, as in human body, the peripherals start to die-off first. So enjoy it while it lasts ladies and gentlemen

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 1st February 2013, 15:57

      @montreal95 Tad overdramatic, perhaps?

      Let’s take a look at these facts. Caterham’s best (and indeed, only) season result is 10th. They are starting to build a car around themselves that is starting to bridge the gap to the lower midfield runners. They’ve replaced Kovalienen and Petrov, those two drivers have had a chance in teams that are competitive, and haven’t shown, and have had their few years in a backmarker car. People weren’t this sad when Trulli left last year, why should this be any different?

      Giedo is a decent driver, otherwise he wouldn’t have flagged up on their list. He knows the team, he’s driven last years car on a few tracks. I’d say he’s a better option than Pic for a Caterham driver.

      This isn’t the end of F1, it’s a GP2 driver signing for a backmarker.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 1st February 2013, 18:54

        @keeleyobsessed Some of your facts are just opinion. Kovalainen has shown very well at Renault. He failed at Mclaren, true, but no one is questioning his status as a legit F1 driver. Petrov hadn’t shown badly at Renault either. He also at least fought for GP2 title, something that VdG had never done. Pic has shown him the way as team-mate, having just arrived in GP2 whilst VdG was in his 3rd season, and he’s nothing too special himself. VdG is 27 years old, had spent 3 years in Formula 3, 2 years in WSbR and 4 years in GP2, and nowhere apart from WSbR has he shown anything special and got beaten by less experienced team-mates. He’s the epitome of a pay driver. How can they expect to maximize their car’s potential with a line-up like that? It just means they’ve given up and cannot be taken seriously anymore

        It’s pathetic by itself that Caterham who pretend to be a serious F1 team has chosen a line-up with not one but two pay drivers(even perennial back-markers Minardi had always maintained a 1-1 promising talent VS moneybag ratio). But viewing it in isolation like you have done stating that ” it’s a GP2 driver signing for a backmarker” is burying your head in the sand. It’s a part of a much bigger thing. The last decent driver of a back-marker team(Glock) has been let down last week so now we have Pic,Chilton and VdG. And if the rumors about Marussia signing of Razia are true, the doomsday picture you label over-dramatic will be complete. Apart from Pic, not one of those would even dream of being in F1 just a few years ago, and not even Pic is as good as the man he replaces

        Furthermore, Force India have yet to name their second driver and it may yet be a pay-driver despite all their claims to the contrary. Sauber have replaced KK with Gutierrez(not the same, as EG is much faster than VdG, but related). The pattern is building don’t you think? That’s why I said “chain of events”. Hope this snowball can yet be stopped, but the “patient’s” current health is not good and keeps going downhill. Of course, since we can’t do anything about it, maybe your approach is better :)

  18. Meander (@meander) said on 1st February 2013, 15:43

    People are being rather harsh on van der Garde as well. Of course he’s no shooting star, and has failed to perform when it counted most, but to be fair he was in the running for the GP2 title for one or two years (’10/’11?) and he had a fair amount of bad luck (being pelted off the track by a midfielder for instance) as well which obviously didn’t help his bid.
    Somehow, in the years that it counted, it slipped through his hands (or he let it slip). Last year he was never really in contention with that team.

    Personally, I think he’ll deliver the goods. I don’t expect the Caterhams to line up 11 and 12 on the grid or anything, but I think that Pic and van der Garde are good enough to do any job that an underwhelming Petrov and uninspired Kovalinen could have done in the same car.

  19. mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 1st February 2013, 15:50

    People are quick to forget he has one of the better track records in Formula Renault 3.5, which he won in 2008.

  20. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 1st February 2013, 15:55

    Remember Caterham stealing back 10th in the standings in Brazil? Won’t be happening this year.

    I have no qualms with Pic, I can see he’s talented, but probably lacks experience.
    To then bring in a rooky who hasn’t really impressed that much over the last few years…uhm….won’t cut it (for the team, not specifically him). I think Pic will outperform VdG with some ease.

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