Caterham confirm Giedo van der Garde as 2012 F1 reserve driver

Hingham-backed Caterham have confirmed Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde as the team's reserve driver for the new season.

The Dutchman was Formula Renault 3.5 World Series champion with Norfolk outfit P1 Motorsport in 2008 and gets his first official Formula One role after a decent season in feeder series GP2 with Barwa Addax last year.

'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,' said Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes.

'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. I am sure he will flourish on and off track.'

Van der Garde spent time in junior formula alongside Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – but has had to be patient since making his mark in Norfolk four years ago.

'I'm very excited about the next step in my career within Formula One,' added the Dutchman. 'The team is fresh, with some fantastic people here.

'It's great for Holland that we again have a Dutch driver who is connected to Formula One. 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 One to them.

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'The team is building up, growing and developing very quickly. I think this year they will be strong contenders. We'll see after the test but I really have a feeling that it's a big family here and they are pushing very hard to move up the grid.

'I feel very strong now, I'm fit, and I'm mentally ready. Of course I've spent a lot of time driving with guys who are now in Formula One and I feel I'm ready for this.'

Van der Garde will deputise for Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen during the season in first practice sessions at grand prix weekends, as well as in testing.

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