FEBRUARY 5, 2007
A double Dutch signing
Today, no doubt, we will learn more about the history behind Spyker signing up Dutchman Giedo Van der Garde, when he had already been announced as a Super Aguri F1 test driver.
The 22-year-old, who has raced in recent years in the Euro F3 series, in not the hottest property in F1 circles as his career to date has been decidedly patchy. He was chosen as a Renault Development Driver at the start of his car racing career but was dropped later for failing to get good enough results. He has raced for three years in the Euro F3 Series but won only one race despite driving for the dominant ASM team. He is due to race for Victory Engineering in the Renault World Series in 2007. No-one doubts that he has a lot of natural speed but the key point is learning how to control that and developing all the other elements that are needed for a modern F1 driver.
So why the kerfuffle about who gets to use him as a test driver?
Super Aguri clearly wants him. It issued a statement saying that "Super Aguri F1 Team has a valid contract with Giedo van der Garde to drive for the team in the position of Friday and Test Driver for the 2007 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The contract was submitted by the SAF1 Team to the Contract Recognition Board on January 23 2007."
Spyker presumably wants him because he is a Dutchman with potential but going to the Contract Recognition Board to get him seems rather radical step and rather messy.
Perhaps it is down to money. Spyker announced no fewer than four test and development drivers. The word is that the positions were available for around $90,000 a day of testing and that the deals have netted the team several extra million for its budget. The list includes wealthy Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy, who has done nothing in GP2 or A1 Grand Prix to indicate that he has an F1 ahead of him. Spaniard Adrian Valles is another who has yet to show his full potential although he was competitive in the Renault World Series in 2005.
Markus Winkelhock is also on the list and he has already proved himself as an F1 test driver but has not raced much since 2005 when he finished third to Kubica and Valles in the Renault World Series.
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