Caterham's Giedo van der Garde 'can't wait' to make his F1 debut in Australia

Dutchman one of five rookies on the grid in Melbourne

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 08/03/13 12:14pm

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Caterham's Giedo van der Garde "can't wait" to make his Formula 1 debut at next week's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

At 27-years-old, the Dutchman is by far the oldest of the five rookies on the grid this season, but will finally get his chance at the pinnacle of the sport having been previously linked with drives at Super Aguri, Spyker and Virgin Racing.

Alongside his GP2 campaign with Caterham, van der Garde also served as the team's F1 reserve driver, but admits stepping up to race seat is a different proposition.

"Honestly I can't wait to get started," van der Garde said.

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"Melbourne will be my first Grand Prix start and, even though it's taken a while to reach this point, I'm completely prepared and really looking forward to getting back to racing.

"Having spent a lot of time with the team last year nothing was new to me when I moved up to the Race Driver position, but it's still a different world, being a Race Driver rather than a Reserve, but I'm enjoying every minute. I finished off 2012 with a win in Singapore, and, while we're all realistic enough to know we're not going to be fighting at that end of the grid, I also know I want to be in the right position to take advantage of anything that comes my way when the lights go out.

"Over the season, I know Spa is going to be a great race as it's so close to home, but for me the most exciting moment of 2013 will be when the lights go out in Melbourne and everything I've dreamed of for so long comes true. I've worked hard all winter and in the tests to prepare myself and I'm ready, physically and mentally.

"Before it all gets serious in Australia I also want to take this chance to thank everyone who has helped me reach this stage of my career. McGregor have played a big role in helping me become and F1 driver, so thanks to everyone there, and thank you to all the people at Leafield.

"Caterham F1 Team is a family, a very cool group of people who have a long-term plan that will come true, and if I can help the whole team achieve its goals then that would be a good way of saying thanks."

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