It’s the news we all feel we’ve been waiting an eternity to hear. Giedo Van Der Garde will make the step up from Reserve Driver to full time team mate of Charles Pic.
This news is perhaps not surprising; only Vitaly Petrov had a realistic chance of pipping the Dutchman to the seat. It’s a shame to see the Russian leave the team after his finish in Brazil scored them tenth place in the Constructors Championship. However this decision does signal a new sense of direction from a team who are under increasing pressure to improve in 2013.
With the money that Pic and Van Der Garde both bring the team should be able to put more focus and emphasis on the car; no longer are they forking out millions for Kovalainen. Van Der Garde’s connections to the team are extensive. He previously drove for Caterham’s GP2 team, with whom he had mixed success. Furthermore he was the team’s Reserve Driver last year.
Something you may not know – Van Der Garde was due to join Honda before the team folded. In his place, a more experienced driver was signed as the team attempted to emerge from the ashes as Brawn. He has been waiting for this chance to prove himself and now it’s here.
Of course that does mean, we say goodbye to Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, two drivers who have previously accumulated a win and podium respectively during their time at top teams. It is unlikely that either will take on the role of Reserve Driver, after all this would signal a distinct step back for drivers who could seek success in pastures new.
Instead Alexander Rossi could be called up. Yet to announce his plans for 2013, Rossi has been their Test Driver and, similarly to Van Der Garde, drove the team’s Formula Renault 3.5 car. He impressed in Spain and is a likely contender to join Formula 1 in the future. As such, he was the latest subject of my ‘Future Stars’ series: https://stoodonthepodium.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/future-stars-alexander-rossi/
It will be interesting to see what impact another rookie will have on the dynamics of the season. Saying that he does have more experience than the likes of Chilton or Bottas. He may not be able to achieve anything of major significance in the Caterham but the pot of gold and obvious raw talent he brings may give him multiple chances to progress. As for me, I’m just pleased that Caterham will have two drivers come their launch day.
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