Kobayashi and Ericsson form all-new Caterham squad

2014 F1 season

Kamui Kobayashi, Robin Frijns, Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, 2014Caterham have completely changed their race driver line-up for the second year in a row.

The team has announced Kamui Kobayashi will return to Formula One with them after a one-year absence.

He will be joined by rookie Marcus Ericsson, who is set to become Sweden’s first driver to start a round of the world championship since Stefan Johansson in 1991.

Caterham also announced Alexander Rossi will continue as test driver alongside new hire Robin Frijns.

“It?s a great honour that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms, and the experience I have and I am so happy that I am able to make this announcement today,” said Kobayashi. “I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets.”

Kobayashi made his F1 debut with Toyota in 2009, then spent the next three seasons at Sauber. After being dropped by the team at the end of 2012 he raised money from fans to continue his Formula One career.

“I want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to Kamui Support,” said Kobayashi. “Their donations and gestures gave me extra strength to come back fighting and I am very pleased that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year.”

“Every single one of you who helped with Kamui Support will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud.”

Despite raising ??8 million from fans and sponsors towards a 2013 seat, Kobayashi said he was unable to secure a place with a competitive team before the start of last season. “My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014,” he said at the time.

Kobayashi spent last year driving for Ferrari’s AF Corse GT racing team in the World Endurance Championship. He also drove one of the team’s F1 cars at Fiorano and in a demonstration run at Moscow which was interrupted by a minor crash.

“For me, it?s a chance to start again with a new team but one that?s serious about progressing,” Kobayashi added, “and for the team, 2014 is the first chance to show what they can do with all the people and infrastructure they?ve built up in Leafield since moving there in 2012″.

Ericsson will graduate to Formula One five years after winning the Japanese Formula Three championship. He has raced in GP2 since then, winning three times in 84 starts.

The 23-year-old had his best chance to win the championship last year after slotting into the DAMS drive vacated by previous champions Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsecchi. But he endured a difficult first half of the season and didn’t score a point in a race until his tenth start, after which he raised his game and ended the year fifth, his best result so far in the championship.

“It?s obviously great for Sweden that we?ll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014,” said Ericsson. “This is what I?ve been working for since I first started racing karts back when I was nine years old, and now I know I?m ready for the step up to F1.”

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171 comments on Kobayashi and Ericsson form all-new Caterham squad

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  1. Alec (@vonhoff) said on 21st January 2014, 10:31

    Shame it wasnt Koba and VDG, but hey ho. Pic is no great loss IMHO.

  2. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 21st January 2014, 10:33

    You know what: I’m glad Kamui is the one driver for 2014 EJ got wrong.

  3. Johnnie said on 21st January 2014, 10:33

    I can’t belive it :o webbplats got a swede! Last timer was over 20 years ago

  4. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 21st January 2014, 10:34

    “My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014,” he said at the time.

    *slide-whistle*

  5. davey said on 21st January 2014, 10:36

    Don’t get why so many fans want Kobayashi back, He’s nothing but average.

    DRS has removed the only thing that kinda made him stand out over the rest & thats the fact he pulled off some banzai overtakes. But thanks to DRS now everyone can easily overtake at the push of a button there’s nothing about him that stands out, Nothing but a average driver who’s had his chance & did nothing to warrant his remaining in f1 beyond 2012.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 21st January 2014, 10:41

      So you would rather have a dreary Pic or GVD in F1?

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 21st January 2014, 11:01

      @davey That’s the point you see. In your opinion he’s average, but most disagree. Very simple to understand

    • Slava (@slava) said on 21st January 2014, 11:09

      I believe that if such a terrible racer like Grosjean (or Maldonado) is still in Formula 1 than it is totally comprehendible that Kobayashi deserves second chance.
      If no more than average Sergio Perez signed a contract with legendary team than Kamui should be in F1.

      • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 21st January 2014, 11:15

        @slava

        Why in your opinion is Grosjean a terrible racer? Did you see some of his 2013 performances?

        • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st January 2014, 11:24

          To add to that, Maldonado is a race winner. He had one legitimate shot at a race win and he took it, against Alonso in the form of his life no less. The same can’t be said of Perez (Malaysia 2012), Hulkenberg (Brazil 2012) or Grosjean (Suzuka 2013).

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 21st January 2014, 12:19

            @geemac To be fair to Grosjean though he didn’t really stand a chance against the Red Bulls. And Hulkenberg was not in a car as remotely as good as the Mclaren so for him to even be in a contention for victory was a miracle. Agree about Perez. To see him going to a Mclaren while KK was left out of F1 altogether was a huge injustice

          • Kanil (@kanil) said on 21st January 2014, 16:46

            I bet if Sauber wasn’t in such dire financial straits, they might’ve been able to let Perez at least mimic Alonso’s strategy (or even take a risk) and win Malaysia. Instead they played ultra-safe to try to get those points.

            Or perhaps they genuinely thought giving the Ferrari a free lap on softs was somehow a reasonable choice, but I’d like to believe they aren’t that clueless.

          • @montreal95 agreed, the Red Bull’s were just too fast and to rub it in Vettel was also on the best form arguably of his career. He maybe would’ve stood a chance against Webber had the strategies played out differently but it wasn’t Grosjean’s race to lose.

            On Hülkenberg and Perez, they differ slightly due to the fact it was wet and that, well, those cars shouldn’t have been where they were – particularly Nico Hülkenberg’s.

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 21st January 2014, 21:09

            @vettel1 Actually all Grosjean could do in Suzuka, was spoiling RBR’s race as much as possible and hope for the best, no strategy would move him up unless luck interfered. And he did it for Webber by getting in front of him at the start and spoiling his strategy which otherwise would be decent, giving advantage to Vettel’s strategy instead(in hindsight Vettel’s strategy turned out to be better but had Webber managed to stay in front at the start his strategy would work).

            There’s a big difference in Perez Vs Hulkenberg situations and it concern whom they were fighting with. Ferrari was nowhere at the time of Alonso beating Perez. arguably it’s the Sauber that was the faster car. It’s no coincidence that Alonso considers Malaysia 2012 as the greatest race of his career. Compare that to Hulkenberg fighting with the Mclarens who were the fastest cars at the time of Brazil 2012

        • Kimi4WDC said on 22nd January 2014, 2:40

          Same as VDG, half job done. Difference is, Grosjean did half job two years in a row. While with VDG we would not know if he really improved and would have done great in his second season.

          The only thing that makes Grosjean shine is the contrast of his bad performances. Doesn’t matter how you spin it, he did his half the time.

    • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 21st January 2014, 11:38

      I agree that Kobayashi is an overrated driver, but I’m still very glad to see him in Formula One instead of Pic or VDG.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st January 2014, 11:51

      I disagree totally except for this part:

      DRS has removed the only thing that kinda made him stand out over the rest

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st January 2014, 14:24

      Kamui is very entertaining on track, he is the best driver to watch for re-passing faster cars that have gotten past him, that is the kind of overtaking we want to see, DRS fails to be a substitute for proper overtaking.

    • Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 21st January 2014, 16:47

      Kobayashi brings a lot of life to the proceedings, never afraid to capitalise on a opening, pacey qualifier, definitely deserves another shot and equally measures up, if not better, to drivers like Perez & Maldonado.

  6. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 21st January 2014, 10:39

    Great to see Kamui back. Marussia retain their two drivers and Caterham go for a new lineup again, can’t help but think if either of them is going to score points first, it will be Marussia…

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 21st January 2014, 17:55

      @craig-o If it was all about consistency, I’d agree with you even though I think KK is the best overall driver of the four.But all will be decided by the car. If Caterham is faster, Marussia’s consistency will count for nothing. Remember this is the year of the regs change, not like 2012 to 2013

  7. Bookoi (@bookoi) said on 21st January 2014, 10:42

    Meanwhile Davide Valsecchi and Fabio Leimer are cursing the day they won their GP2 titles. It seems you’re better off running somewhere near the front and hanging around for several seasons looking solid at best.

  8. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st January 2014, 10:44

    Fantastic to see Kamui back. I’d much rather have him battling at the back of the grid than not have him on it at all.

    Most importantly, does this mean that @magnificent-geoffrey will have a green and yellow fish avatar this year?

  9. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 21st January 2014, 10:44

    Very welcome to see Kobayashi back. That should guarantee an extra level of madness at Suzuka. And good to see the team going back to a policy of at least one decent experienced driver again. Before 2013, they always had either Trulli, or Kovalainen, or both.
    (What’s Heikki doing now, by the way? More golf?)

    Ericsson’s an underwhelming choice, like Chilton last year. I’d have preferred to see Rossi get the drive, he looked ready for it in his practice runs. Maybe he’ll take to F1 better than GP2 – like Kamui did.

  10. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 21st January 2014, 10:46

    Hip hip hooray

  11. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 21st January 2014, 10:49

    Is this Marcus Ericsson chap any good? I haven’t really watched GP2 in a while and I’ve not really heard much about him (positive or negative). Its a shame really considering neither Pic or VdG were actually that bad. I get replacing one with Kobayashi but I think they should kept one (preferably VdG) for stability reasons.

  12. AlbertC (@albertc) said on 21st January 2014, 10:53

    Finally! We (swedes) have been waiting far too long for this!

    Next year we’ll have, a swede, a dane and two finns on the grid in Melbourne. Go Scandinavia!

  13. FLIG (@flig) said on 21st January 2014, 11:06

    Well done, Caterham. You have a new fan.

    I’m curious about what number he’ll choose.

    • venom (@venom) said on 21st January 2014, 11:15

      add me to the fan list,and the Japanese fans deserve this.!!

    • FlyingLobster27 said on 21st January 2014, 21:33

      Kobayashi chose 4, but of all people, Chilton beat him to it (didn’t think you’d see “Chilton beat Kobayashi” anytime soon, I bet).
      So Kobayashi has got #10, while Marcus Ericsson has chosen #9.

  14. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 21st January 2014, 11:08

    Yes! Kamui ‘banzai’ Kobayashi is back!

    Don’t’ really care about Ericsson though, I reckon the Swedish F1 Fanatics are quite happy today, enjoy it while it lasts chaps.

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