Giedo van der Garde
When he signed to race with Caterham in early 2013, aged 27, Giedo van der Garde became one of the older Formula One rookies in recent years, but his age is indicative of an already-lengthy racing career.
Born in Rhenen in the Netherlands in 1985, van der Garde began his motor racing life in karts and became Formula Super A world champion in 2002. He stepped up to single-seater racing in 2003, coming fifth in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and earning himself a spot in Renaults prestigious driver development squad.
The Dutchman moved into the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2004, but it was to be the first of three disappointing seasons in the category that yielded just one victory. Better was to follow in 2007 when he moved into Formula Renault 3.5 (finishing sixth in the points), tested for Super Aguri, became F1 test driver for Spyker and was brought into McLarens young driver programme. The following season he remained in Formula Renault 3.5 and claimed a dominant title, scoring five victories and earning a test with the Renault F1 team.
Van der Garde moved on to the GP2 Series in 2009 and performed admirably in his debut season, scoring three wins and finishing seventh in the final standings (with a further win in the GP2 Asia series). He stayed in GP2 for the next three seasons, finishing seventh in 2010, fifth in 2011 and sixth with two wins in 2012, a year in which he also acted as Caterhams official F1 test and reserve driver.
That role included driving in six Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix and eventually led to the likeable and well-backed driver sealing a race deal with the team.