Van der Garde candidate for Caterham and Force India in 2014
6 December, 2013
Rookie driver Giedo van der Garde has emerged as a strong player at the tail-end of the 2014 Formula 1 ‘silly season’.
At the final races of the 2013 season, strong paddock reports suggested the Dutchman’s backing going forwards was stronger than that of his French teammate Charles Pic.
Indeed, in the Dutch press this week, van der Garde’s wealthy backer Marcel Boekhoorn sounded confident that the 28-year-old has a strong future in Formula 1.
“Negotiations are underway, but it will work out,” he insisted.
“I assure you: Giedo will be on the grid next year – 100 per cent for sure,” Boekhoorn told the Quote publication.
Off the back of those reports, it emerged this week that 2013 Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, backed at the struggling Swiss team this year by Telmex, had visited Caterham’s UK factory.
That would be bad news for Heikki Kovalainen, who was hoping to return to the grid full-time next year with Caterham, despite his lack of sponsorship.
But van der Garde might not be staying at Caterham after all.
Dutch businessman Michiel Mol is a key shareholder at Force India, who are yet to name Nico Hulkenberg’s teammate for 2014.
Mol is quoted as saying that countryman van der Garde is in the running.
“The opportunity is there that Giedo could come to us to drive,” he said.
“I would find that very appealing, but although I do have an interest in Force India, I do not have a say – this is a decision of the management.
“All I can do is convey my enthusiasm about Giedo, and I do so frequently,” smiled Mol. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.