Sauber F1 Team reserve driver Giedo van der Garde will have his seventh Friday practice outing of the 2014 Formula 1 season at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the Swiss team has confirmed.

The former Caterham driver has piloted the Ferrari-powered C33 in FP1 at the Bahrain, Chinese, Spanish, British, German and Belgian Grands Prix to-date. This weekend will see the Dutch driver replace Adrian Sutil for the opening 90 minutes of on-track running.

“It is great to be back again in the cockpit on Friday morning, particularly at Monza, where there is always a special atmosphere and the Italian people are really passionate about motorsport,” van der Garde said.

“During the first practice session we will test different [set-up] configurations in order to find the best possible package.”

The team still languishes in tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings, having failed to score a points’ finish in the worst season in its history. In its event preview ahead of this weekend’s visit to the low-downforce Monza circuit, the team and its drivers didn’t appear particularly optimistic of their chances.

Adrian Sutil – whose very future with the team continues to remain clouded – aired his concerns that Pirelli’s tyre choices would not play into the team’s favour. The German’s best race finish came at Monza in 2009, where he finished fourth driving for the Force India team.

“As Pirelli has chosen the medium and hard compounds, it could be a challenge for us to bring the tyres up to temperature,” he said. “I am looking forward to racing there, the Italian Grand Prix has a remarkable history.”

“I am looking forward to going to Monza. Due to the track layout, we need a high top speed in order to be fast on the straights. Monza’s characteristics are different in comparison to the other circuits on the calendar,” added teammate Esteban Gutiérrez.

“Mechanical set-up of the car is crucial. From an aerodynamic point of view, it is important to have low drag, and, as a result, the downforce is much reduced.”

The team will, however, celebrate one milestone this weekend, as it marks ten years in partnership with Swiss watchmaker Certina. The team’s drivers and senior management will receive the first editions of the company’s DS-2 chronograph, while the C33s will feature special branding to mark the event.

Images via XPB Images

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Geoff Burke

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