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Rookie diary - Caterham's Giedo van der Garde 06 Mar 2013

Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 5 February 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 2 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 22 February 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03 makes a pit stop.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 21 February 2013

Giedo van der Garde is one of five drivers who will make their Formula One race debut at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on March 17. As part of a new series charting the personal as well as professional progress of this year’s F1 newcomers, the 27-year-old Dutchman describes how he celebrated securing his seat at Caterham and why he can’t wait for the season to begin…

“My life, since being announced as a Caterham race driver, has been really good. Obviously it has been very busy - the announcement was made very close to the first pre-season test so everything has sort of been squeezed into the last couple of weeks. But I wouldn’t change it, it has been great!

“The main thing for me is that my dream is coming true. I told my Dad when I was very young that I was going to be an F1 driver and now it’s happening. I never stopped working for it, never stopped believing it would happen, and with the help and support of a lot of very good people, I’m where I want to be.

“The first thing I did when I found out I had the drive was to have a small sip of champagne with my girlfriend. My trainer, Carlos, has had me on a pretty tough programme over the winter, but you only get to celebrate news like that very rarely in life so I wanted to share it with my girlfriend. It was only a small sip though…

“Do I feel under pressure? No. Not from the team as we’re realistic about what we can do this year. The pressure that does exist is from myself and my trainer. We are preparing as well as possible for the year ahead, but that’s good pressure, the sort that motivates you and pushes you to perform. But pressure on track? No. I know what to do - the team have helped me prepare as well as possible and I’m ready for what’s ahead.

“I’ve spent as much time as possible at the factory, bearing in mind when the announcement was made. Having driven for Caterham in GP2 last year I’ve already spent a lot of time with the team, so I know the guys and know my way around the factory at Leafield.

“Sure, it’s not ideal to have been announced as late as I was, but, as I said, I was with the team in 2012, both in F1 and GP2, so nothing’s really new to me. That has made it easy just to go to work.

“I also already knew my team mate - Charles Pic - very well. We were team mates with Addax in GP2 in 2011 and he already has a year of F1 on his CV, so I can - and I am - definitely learning from him. Our relationship is great.

“Pre-season testing was pretty good. The weather could have been better, but we needed some time to try out the wet tyres and set-ups, and we’re on target for what we wanted to achieve in the tests, so all good.

"Now, I’m just looking forward to Melbourne. It’ll be my first Grand Prix and I can’t wait to get going. After that, I’m looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. That’s where most Dutch fans will be - it’s one of the greatest circuits on the planet and it’s near home.

“This season, the most satisfaction would come from scoring Caterham’s first point in Formula One, but we know that’s a big ask and needs a crazy race to help us. So for me, it’s about learning in the first half of the season, then using what I’ve taken in to progress, fight where I can, and do the best job possible.”

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