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Thursday March 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 1:40:03 PM
MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIXSEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (MARCH 22-24)
LET it rain. Caterham F1 driver Giedo van der Garde has no qualms if the heavens open up during the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 26-year-old Dutch driver, who is competing in his first F1 season, is expecting to have a good race with the CT03 car on the “home” track of Caterham.
“Our cars have a good grip in the rain with the intermediate tyres as we can see from Melbourne last week. I would say that I’m hoping for it to rain,” said Van der Garde.
Caterham F1 team is owned by Malaysia’s Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
Van der Garde has been an integral part of the Caterham family after competing and winning GP2 races with Caterham Racing last year. He served as a reserve driver for the F1 team, behind Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov.
The Dutchman will be joined on the grid this year by Charles Pic, who raced for Marussia last year.
“It won’t be easy at Sepang ... with the heat and humidity. But it will be an important race for us, especially in front of the home crowd and we want to give our 100% in the race,” said Pic.
Both Van der Garde and Pic had a poor outing in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. Pic finished 16th behind Marussia’s Max Chilton while the Dutchman ended up 18th.
As a tribute to the home fans, Van der Garde will wear a specially designed helmet which spots a Tiger livery, synonym to Malaysia’s sporting spirit.
“At first I wanted to incorporate a flag design to the helmet. But then I realised that the Tiger has a close connection to Malaysians,” said Van der Garde.
A similar version of the helmet will be up for auction in an event with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’azam Shah today. The proceed of the auction will be donated to charities.
With the F1 going for a major revamp next year with new engine regulations, team Caterham found themselves in the middle of making advancements for the CT03, whilst developing the new car for 2014.
However, this does little to change Van der Garde’s mindset in the race, as he looks to learn a lot in his first year of F1 racing.
“I would say I jumped in at the right time for racing. With teams making a lot of developments for next year, this is the time for me to learn as much as possible.
“Next year will be different as everyone will start on a clean slate. But my focus this year is to race to my maximum ability and learn as much as possible,” said the Dutchman.
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