Dutchman Giedo Van Der Garde, aged 27, was the Caterham test and reserve driver in 2012 and drove in six Friday practice sessions for the Norfolk-based team last season.
His appointment to the seat makes official the departure of Heikki Kovalainen from the sport after six years driving for Renault, Mclaren and Lotus/Caterham. The Finnish driver scored his only victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Van Der Garde joins Frenchman Charles Pic, who impressed in his rookie season at Marussia, in the 2013 lineup as the field takes shape for the season ahead.
The BBC quoted the Dutchman as saying :
“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.”
“Throughout 2012 I was able to fully integrate myself into the team, both through the FP1 sessions I ran at a number of tracks that were then new to me, and as reserve driver, fully embedded with the team throughout the season.”
“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.”
The Force India seat alongside Paul Di Resta is now the only berth remaining for drivers hopeful of joining the field in 2013.
A ‘Who is Giedo Van Der Garde?’ feature will appear on this blog in due course – stay tuned!