Formula 1 2013 driver guide: Giedo Van der Garde

The steady hand from Holland was a surprise pick for Caterham, now he has a point to prove at the highest level

Team: Caterham
Nationality: Dutch
Birth date: 25/4/1985
First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2013
2012 points: N/A
2012 best finish: N/A
2012 Championship position: N/A


Van der Garde is sponsored by the McGregor Fashion Group, who claim on their website to specialise in “understated luxury”. The bosses at Caterham will be keeping everything crossed that their Dutch driver doesn’t turn out to be just that for them this season.

A look back at his career so far won’t, perhaps, provide much encouragement. After winning the World Karting Championship in 2002 as a 16-year-old, then impressing in Formula Renault the following year, Van der Garde was deemed a hot enough prospect for Renault to offer him a place in their Driver Development Programme.

But that’s when progress started to stall for the Dutchman as, after he was summarily dropped by Renault, he went on to suffer the indignity of finishing sixth behind two team-mates at his new outfit ASM, Sebastian Vettel and Paul Di Resta, in the 2006 F3 season.

Since then he’s knocked around the GP2 circuit without distinction and now, having driven in six practise sessions for the team last season, finds himself in the hot seat for Caterham for 2013.

That pick came as quite a surprise, as the man from the Netherlands actually displaced incumbents Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov to win his place on the team, but it serves the underline the staying power and tenacity of a guy who’s making his F1 debut at the ripe old age of 27.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see much by way of style in Giedo’s first season, but at least his patrons in Oxfordshire can expect him to stay the course.

2013 predictions: “We’re all realistic enough to know we’re not going to be fighting at that end of the grid. I also know I want to be in the right position to take advantage of anything that comes my way when the lights go out.”


Did you know?
Van der Garde is a big comic book fan and his race helmet is embellished with black and white cartoon sketches like the ones his Dad bought him as a child.