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

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  1. ONCE MORE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nhXAVCZHLM “You know when you’ve been KK-ed” – Martin Brundle

  2. Kamui – Bianchi will be a very good matchup.

  3. Kamui Kobayashi ‘s got some balls!

    He refused an offer from Stefano Domenicali to drive in the WEC championship and do some simulator and devolpment work with Ferrari. Instead, he’s driving for Caterham for free!

    You can’t deny this kid has ambition and really lives for his passion, driving a F1 car!

    I really hope he can get some good results this year and hopefully we’ll see him back at a team where he can score some podium finishes in 2015.

    He’s maybe not the fastest driver on the grid (he was more or less on par with Perez at Sauber) but damn … this guy ‘s got me exited for this year!

  4. I can’t help to be slightly underwhelmed. Honestly i think they should have kept Van der Garde for continuity, and pick up Frijns for the second seat. I think Frijns, Formula Renault 3.5 champion, has much more potential than Ericsson, who hasn’t showed anything over the last couple of years. Kobayashi, well, everyone seems to like him, but he isn’t actually that quick. His last season at Sauber wasn’t that impressive at all really. Perez outperformed him badly. Nonetheless i really hope Caterham has a good year, and can race with the midfield for real this time.

    1. Perez outperformed him badly.

      That’s just not true. He was quite unlucky, that explains the points difference between him and Perez in 2013.

      Don’t forget he got on the podium at Suzuka and started the Belgian GP at the front row. Two great tracks, two times Koba that impresses us, he definetely deserves that Sauber seat more than Sutil or Gutierrez!

    2. @me4me I’d hardly say outperformed him at all really. Yes Perez finished higher on points but he got most of them from his podiums where he made an alternative strategy work. Kobayashi also had a lot of impressiv. Qualifyings (China, Spa, Suzuka) whereas Perez did not. They were relatively evenly matched in 2012, with Kobayashi arguably the more consistent of the two.

  5. Put a big smile on my face :)
    Kamui’s a RACER, hopefully this will be a stepladder to where he belongs, driving for one of the current ‘big’ 4 teams.

  6. is it true that Kob is driving for free ?

  7. I suppose I would rather (sort of) see him in F1 again rather than (sort of) see Charles Pic. The parenthetical remarks are because we never see much of the back-markers in the first place.
    I’ve always thought Kamui overrated but still well enough on the quick side–he was nearly a match for Perez, after all. He ought to be a fine gauge for whether Ericsson is just another rich boy or an actual talent.

    I will miss seeing Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna (who would have thought?) staging such spectacular duels in the WEC. Can’t blame him for taking the chance to go back to F1 though.

  8. for Kobayashi ….. お帰りなさい。あなたは素晴らしいシーズンを持っている願っています

  9. Fernando Cruz
    23rd January 2014, 0:38

    Kobayashi is good but not great. Bruno Senna is not great either but at least he did better last year (in the WEC), so he deserved even more to be back in F1. Even more so because the japanese had already 3 years with a good F1 car, while the brazilian had only one full season with a good one (and even that one it was not a fair chance due to losing all those free practice). It just shows how overrated Kamui is, as with similar machinery and conditions (GP2 and WEC) Bruno was better than him.

  10. Who else was hoping for Koba/Kova partnership?
    Long shot, but I was hoping for it!

    Interesting question:In this situation, out of Marussia and Caterham who would get 10th! So here’s the situation:Marussia sign Glock/Bianchi and Caterham sign Kova/Koba.Kova gets a 12th early on and then Glock gets an 11th before Bianchi and Glock each get a point! Then Kova and Koba each get a point!With 2 points each and 12 races left who will come out on top?

    1. I think Marussia, I’m a fan of Bianchi, Glock and Marussia, but also of Kovalainen! Not so keen on Koba or Caterham! If you are a Caterham or Kobayashi fan please don’t kill me!

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