GP2 Series

Caterham Sign Gonzalez Alongside Van Der Garde For GP2

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Rodolfo Gonzalez - Photo Credit: Drew Gibson/GP2 Series Media Service

Gonzalez tested for Caterham's GP2 squad in Barcelona last October - Photo Credit: Drew Gibson/GP2 Series Media Service

The Caterham Racing GP2 Series team have announced their lineup for the 2012 season, with Rodolfo Gonzalez joining Giedo van der Garde in the team.

Van der Garde announced on Saturday that he would contest a fourth season of GP2 alongside his commitments as reserve driver for Caterham F1.

Venezuelan driver Gonzalez, 25, joins Caterham for his third full campaign in GP2. In 2010 he drove for Arden, scoring points in the two races at Spa. Last year with Trident he failed to score any points. Overall, his main series GP2 record stands at two points finishes from 40 starts.

Gonzalez's relationship with the Norfolk-based team began at the end of 2010 when he tested for them in the F1 Young Driver Test, a role he repeated one year later. He also tested for the GP2 squad in Barcelona last October.

“I am incredibly happy to be joining Caterham Racing this year and I can't wait to get going,” said Gonzalez. “I had a very successful test with the F1 team in November where they provided me with all the right facilities and a great structure in which to learn.

“In the past perhaps I have not had the right structure or opportunity to develop properly as a driver but I believe this team will provide me with everything I need to help me up my game and have a successful season, in and out of the car. I am confident the technical team are strong and experienced and together we will create a good working environment. 

“We have put together a very good package to help me develop and I am very happy to have this opportunity and to have a team such as this believe in me. I feel I have matured a lot over the last season and have learnt from my past mistakes. My aim is to become a better athlete and person all round – In turn I believe this will make me a stronger racing driver capable of winning GP2 races. Hopefully this can be achieved this year.”

Van der Garde added: “I am very happy with our deal with Caterham Racing. I have in the past had some good results in GP2 but this year I am looking forward to winning races and I think I am in the right place to do that here.  Considering it was the team's first ever season last year they showed great potential and I hope together we can build on this and win races, lots of them. 

“The link to the Formula One team is a great advantage and I am very happy with that. I feel it's a big step up from where I was last year. It means I will go to all the Formula One races, but I will race a full GP2 season too which keeps me sharp. Now we must make sure we are well prepared for testing and consistently score points throughout the season.”

GP2 Team CEO Nino Judge commented: “I am genuinely very pleased about our line-up for 2012. We welcome Rodolfo and Giedo into our Caterham Racing family. They bring the perfect combination of speed and experience, essential for success in GP2. I look forward to helping them maximize their potential in GP2 and preparing them in their critical final stage of development towards F1.”

Team Manager Phill Spencer added: “I am really excited about the season ahead with Giedo van der Garde and Rodolfo Gonzalez. Both drivers have had a fair bit of experience in the formula and the team now has one season under its belt so we are all much more familiar with the cars and the circuits and how GP2 operates.  Now we just want to get testing and start the season.

“The first race in Malaysia will be one of our two home races so no doubt there will be some added pressure there to perform well but everyone is motivated and keen to have a good season. The last few weeks have been very busy in factory after our freight back from Abu Dhabi was delayed, but the cars have been completely stripped down and everything has been checked so it's like we have two brand new cars sitting in the workshop ready for the start of the season. Both drivers are of similar height, build, and weight and I think with everything we have to offer them in terms of experience, training programs, feedback etc. we will all work very well together.”

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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