Narain Karthikeyan and Giedo van der Garde sign on
The weekend wasn’t all about car launches, as both HRT and Caterham F1 added to their driver line-ups.
On Friday afternoon, HRT announced Narain Karthikeyan as their second driver to race alongside Spanish teammate, Pedro de la Rosa.
Karthikeyan completes the provisional grid for the 2012 Formula 1 season, although with six weeks still to go until the opening race at Melbourne, there is still plenty of time for driver changes.
The signing of the Indian driver continues the growing trend of veteran drivers competing in Formula 1. At 35, Karthikeyan becomes the fourth driver on the grid aged 35 or over, alongside Mark Webber (35), Michael Schumacher (43) and de la Rosa (40).
In the twenty-seven races the Indian has started, Karthikeyan achieved a best result of 4th for Jordan at the controversial United States Grand Prix in 2005, where only six cars competed.
Karthikeyan will join the team at the second test in Barcelona
Two steps up the order, Team Caterham revealed Dutchman Giedo van der Garde as their third driver on Saturday.
Van der Garde’s duties behind the wheel of the new Caterham CT01 begin at the opening test at Jerez this Thursday. The Dutch reserve will also take part in a number of Friday morning practice sessions during the season, as he aims to impress for the future.
Regular race drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli will also be taking part in the four day test in southern Spain, with Kovalainen running tomorrow and Wednesday and Trulli taking part on Friday.
Last year, Van der Garde finished 5th in his third season of GP2; however he has not won an event since claiming the Feature Race at Monza toward the end of 2009. The previous year, van der Garde won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with P1 Motorsport.
It will not be van der Garde’s first time as reserve and test driver for a Formula 1 squad. In 2007, the Dutch pilot was one of seven drivers in the fold at Spyker, taking a similar position at Force India the following year.