Kamui Kobayashi, Robin Frijns, Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, 2014

Kobayashi and Ericsson form all-new Caterham squad

2014 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

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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Image ?? Caterham/LAT

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

    1. I liked VDG. His second half was strong, and I think it would have done Caterham some good to have some consistency within the team.
      It’ll take Ericsson and even Kobayashi some time to adjust to the Caterham settings, whilst Bianchi and Chilton (lol) will have the early season advantage.

      1. Me too would prefer Kobayashi + Petrov lineup – both having quite a lot of F1 experience could contribute much more to the in season car development than Ericsson who couldn’t handle less powerful and less complicated machinery in lower formulaes – if he needed ten races to just overcome DNF in , I wonder which race will be his first finished in F1?
        Anyway, wishing him good luck, but IMHO the guy who scored 3 wins 84 starts has a huge and colorful tattoo on his forehehead: PAID DRIVER

    2. Unfortunately, it won’t matter who was selected to drive for Caterham as it’s most likely a “one and done” situation. Fernandes is ready to pull funding if things don’t change drastically this year and I don’t see much chance of Caterham scoring lots of points.
      And Bernie’s focus on starving the lower teams and making his favorite, already rich teams at the top, even richer….well, we’ll be down a couple more teams before long. Sad, but where Formula 1 is heading.

      I totally agree with Fernandes about one thing: it’s much more exciting to watch a sport where there is actually a chance of an underdog winning a race.

      1. “Oh happy day”!? is this going to be the pattern for the future, fans funding their Fav driver so he can buy a drive? Meanwhile Bernies successors bank over half a billion a year as their share of the profit derived from Maxs sweetheart deal with Bernie.

        1. Frankly this is my main beef with most of the teams now. They are just so incompetent at money side.

          Why teams are not using the fans? Merchandise is fine but its old model. Their marketing teams should be fired together with Lotus management team.

    1. @optamaximal Lots of sense in KK’s approach. He maybe could’ve wasted the budget on a seat at Caterham/Marussia in 2013, but he knew they didn’t have a chance. As 2014 is the first year of the new regulations and Caterham have concentrated on 2014 from mid-2012 already, he has a much better chance to be competitive with them now. In they meantime he actually gained some money as paid driver in Ferrari GT in 2013.

      So, let’s not be too fast to dismiss him shall we?

      1. More to the point, with Pirelli promising durable tyres and the new powertrains promising loads of torque Kamui’s ” chuck it around” driving style should be more competitive, let’s face it he would never have been any good with last years vanishing tyres.

  1. 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.

      1. While I prefer Kobayashi to both Pic and VdG, it doesn’t really matter if they have dreary or boring personalities. If they’re good enough for F1, than that should be the important factor.

    1. 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.

        1. 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).

          1. @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

          2. 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.

          3. @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.

          4. @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

        2. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    1. @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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. Marcus Ericsson is surprisingly fast on a single lap. He got pole position driving for TOMS in Formula 3 in Macau, on a a very competitive field, including Jules Bianchi, Edoardo Mortara, Daniel Ricciardo, Valteri Bottas, er, Max Chilton. Got second place on the Qualification race but had a very poor start on the main race. Not a good starter- the opposite of Alonso. But expect someone fast in qualifying.

        1. And it will be a Trulli long time before you will ever see another one. Italian drivers have not just disappeared from F1 but also from all the feeder series WSR 3.5, GP2 and GP3. No money no drive, it really is that simple.

          Please nobody mention Marciello as he is not even Italian (He only races under an Italian licence)

    1. 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.

  5. Does anyone know if Kobayashi brings any new sponsorship with him?
    I was hoping his Kamui Support Fund being so successful would attract some names to him (as he is a popular driver)!

  6. Glad to see Kamui returning to F1, but Ericsson’s hiring is rather weird. Does he really bring that much money to the table?
    I’ve been watching him racing in GP2 during the last few seasons and he hasn’t convinced me at all. Frijns, Da Costa, Calado, Leimer etc. are all more capable to bring results in F1.

    1. @huhhii – Well, I think we can probably guess that it is something to do with Marcus’ bank balance. However, frankly, he definitely is the most sensible choice for Caterham bearing in mind the fact that they needed a pay driver. Would you want a Sergio Canamasas in your car? Or a Johnny Cecotto? Or a Sergey Sirotkin? Now that OGX, the company that sponsors Felipe Nasr, is bankrupt, Ericsson was the only option. And whilst he is unquestionably a pay driver, he does have a very decent turn of speed, and I expect him to fair better than Gutierrez and Chilton did last year.

      1. @william-brierty Retaining Van der Garde (he didn’t do that bad last season) or possibly re-hiring Petrov would be more sensible options. Caterham is already familiar with those guys and they both have experience from F1. They are capable to give better feedback from the car, which would make it a lot more easier for Caterham to improve their car during this crucial season. And of course having Petrov in your line-up during the inaugural Russian Grand Prix could be quite beneficial from marketing’s point of view.

        1. @huhhii – If you remember to his final races for Caterham, Petrov lost his Russian investment, which essentially spelled an end to his career and would make him an nonviable option for Caterham. Also, if the report are right, Ericsson’s sponsorship package is larger than the McGregor sponsorship Van der Garde brought, although yes, I would prefer to see him in the seat than Ericsson.

          1. @william-brierty F1 boom is rapidly growing in Russia. As far as I know Petrov is still really popular there, so I don’t think finding new rich backers would be that difficult task, especially now when Russian GP is certainly going to happen. But I guess now it’s all too late for him.

  7. I am not sure if he is bringing some Yen but great to see KK back in F1. I saw him finish 3rd in Japan in 2012 and the crowds reactions was awesome.
    To say KK made some banzai moves but now DRS replaces that is unfair. He made some great moves in zones that would not be DRS zones and probably showed alot of driver you CAN overtake in F1!

    The one positive from DRS is I think that driver have started to make moves where they previously did not try.

    He may be at the back of the pack (or maybe not!!) but great to se Kamui back on the grid!

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