Caterham have today confirmed that 26-year-old Dutchman Giedo van der Garde will be the team’s official reserve driver for 2012.
The former GP2 driver will participate in the pre-season tests for the team and take part in a number of FP1 sessions throughout the season.
“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,” he 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.
“I feel that the team as a whole is very ambitious. They appear to be very positive people and I think they are 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 1 and I feel I'm ready for this. I'd like to thank McGregor and everybody who has supported me in my career and for helping me take this next exciting step.”
Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes explained why the Dutchman had been selected to support race drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli. “We are delighted to welcome Giedo into the family as Reserve Driver,” said Fernandes. “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.”