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Giedo van der Garde believes that although it is impossible to make realistic predictions about Caterham's chances for the 2013 Formula 1 season, the Leafield-based outfit has made a significant step forward with its new CT03 chassis.
The Dutchman completed 64 laps during the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez, finishing 3.054 seconds adrift of pace-setter Jenson Button.
"It's obviously far too early to make any judgements on the performance levels we can expect from the 2013 package but compared to the car I drove in Brazil it feels like we've made some good progress over the winter," van der Garde commented. "Tomorrow will be more of the same for us - running through more procedures and a few set-up options across the range of tyres we have available here and hopefully getting in as many laps as possible."
Van der Garde says understanding Pirelli's 2013 tyres will be a major focus for Caterham throughout testing, having felt a significant difference with the new rubber.
"The main thing for me is the tyres," van der Garde said of the modified compounds. "They definitely feel different to what I ran in the Friday sessions I did in 2012 and that's going to be a focus for us in the tests, to get as much as we can out of them."
Van der Garde will continue his pre-season programme on Wednesday, before team-mate Charles Pic takes to the wheel of the CT03 for the final two days of the test.
Giedo van der Garde
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