sport

Giedo earns Caterham race drive

Caterham have confirmed Giedo van der Garde as their second driver for the new Formula One season.

The 27-year-old Dutch driver makes the step up from the GP2 series and his role as Caterham's reserve driver, and joins with Frenchman Charles Pic in an all-new driver line-up.

Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: "Everyone in the team is delighted that we can finally confirm that Giedo will be racing for us in the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship.

"He has been part of our family since early 2012 when he joined our GP2 team and was appointed as reserve driver for the F1 team.

"He acquitted himself extremely well in both his GP2 season and his six free practice 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."

Van der Garde's season with Caterham in GP2 delivered six podiums and two race wins. He becomes the fourth rookie to be confirmed on the 2013 grid, after Williams' Valtteri Bottas, Max Chilton of Marussia and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

"I am absolutely delighted to confirm that I will be racing in the 2013 F1 World Championship with Caterham F1 Team," said Van der Garde.

"I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen.

"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.

"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."

Van der Garde has been on F1's periphery for several years, having been drafted into McLaren's young driver programme in 2007 and taking up a test and reserve driver role with Spyker in the same year.

He also had a one-off test with Renault in 2008 as part of his prize for winning that year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

"This is the next natural step for Giedo with our team," Abiteboul added.

"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."

Friday's announcement sees Van der Garde reunited with the highly-rated Pic, who was his team-mate in GP2 in 2011 before he embarked on his first F1 career with Marussia last season.

The duo replace Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in Caterham's line-up, both of whom now appear certain to be without a drive in the new season.

There are now just two seats left up for grabs on the 2013 grid, at Marussia and Force India. Luiz Razia and Jules Bianchi, respectively, are tipped to land those drives.