Well backed by his father in law Marcel Boekhoorn's McGregor brand, he told De Telegraaf newspaper that he turned Caterham down.
"I liken it to Jasper Cillissen," van der Garde said, referring to a Dutch goalkeeper who gambled on a transfer between football teams, sat on the bench for a year but ultimately went on to great success.
De Telegraaf said van der Garde was offered the race seat at Caterham for 2014.
"I didn't do it," the 28-year-old confirmed, "because this is a better option.
"My goal this year is to show what I can do and race for Sauber in 2015. I'm a driver who wants the maximum possible, not to race around at the back."
Van der Garde said he is happy with his 2014 programme.
"It looks good," he said. "There are more test days this year and I can do some of the Friday free practices.
"And if it is necessary, I am ready to race."