Cyril Abiteboul believes Giedo van der Garde is worth his place in F1 with Caterham
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul believes Dutch rookie Giedo van der Garde has earned the right to compete in Formula One for Caterhm in 2013 – ousting Heikki Kovalainen in the process.
The 27-year-old was racing in GP2 for Caterham Racing last year, while doubling up on testing and reserve driver duties for their sister F1 team.
And in that time, Abiteboul feels Van der Garde – who was Wolrd Series by Renault champion with Norfolk outfit P1 Motorsport in 2008 – delivered enough to be worth his drive alongside second-year Frenchman Charles Pic.
“Giedo has been part of our family since early 2012 when he joined our GP2 team and was appointed reserve driver for the F1 team,” said Abiteboul.
“He acquitted himself extremely well in both his GP2 season and his six F1 free practice one sessions, progressively improving his outright pace, technical feedback and his relationship with his engineers and mechanics, giving us the clear justification for promoting him to F1.
“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 (if GP2), so he is an excellent choice to partner Charles in what is going to be another very interesting season. We are all looking forward to seeing Giedo continue to progress as he takes on the ultimate challenge of F1.”
Van der Garde earned scored six podiums and two race wins in the Formula One feeder series last year.
He added: “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.
“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.”