The 2014 grid is finally complete, following Caterham’s announcement today that they will have Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson racing for them in Formula One this season.
The team, who have a completely different line-up to 2013, have retained Alexander Rossi as a test and reserve driver, with Robin Frijns also being included.
“I’m very pleased we can finally unveil our F1 drivers for the year ahead,” Team Principal and CEO Cyril Abiteboul said. “The process may have taken longer than we’d have liked, but we didn’t want or need to be rushed into such an important decision. We have been in the happy position of having a wide range of drivers to choose from. I believe that we have exciting and dynamic talents in both F1 and GP2, and I know just how excited everyone in the F1 team and Caterham Racing are about working with our drivers.”
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Kamui back,” he continued. “He is a very popular driver and it’s very good for the whole team that we’ve been able to attract such an exciting driver to join us at a critical point in our development. His pace speaks for itself and his extensive experience of developing cars, particularly in his years with Toyota, will be incredibly important for us as we tackle one of the most challenging seasons F1 has ever embarked upon.”
Kobayashi burst onto the F1 scene in 2009, when he stood in for an injured Timo Glock at the final few rounds for Toyota. He instantly went wheel to wheel, literally, with championship contender Jenson Button.
“It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it is with Caterham F1 Team,” he said. “We’ve been talking to Cyril and Tony since last year about driving for the team for 2014 and beyond. Throughout all our discussions I’ve been very impressed with where they want to take the team and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals. For me it’s a great honour that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms and the experience I have. I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets”.
“I also want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to Kamui Support,” he continued. “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”.
Kobayashi will be partnered with F1 rookie Ericsson, who started his single seater career in Formula BMW in 2007, progressing through the ranks to GP2.
“This is a very proud day for me and everyone who has helped make my F1 dream come true,” Ericsson said. “I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.”
“It’s obviously great for Sweden that we’ll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014,” he continued. “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.”
Both drivers have a busy time ahead of them as testing is just around the corner.
“I can’t wait to start work again,” Kobayashi said. “One of the benefits of making this announcement so close to the start of the tests means I only have a few days to wait to get back on track! Before then I’ll be at the factory as much as possible, working in the simulator and with everyone there to prepare as much as we can for the tests in Jerez and Bahrain. Physically and mentally I’m fully prepared, now I just want to get back to work!”
Ericsson echoed his sentiments. “After a good break at home over Christmas, the hard work has already started,” he said. “My physical fitness has always been good but I’ve been working even more on that since the discussions with Caterham began. I’m going to be in the factory in Leafield as much as I can before and during the tests in Spain and Bahrain so I can play an active role in helping understand the 2014 car, and what we need to do to unlock its performance. We have a big task in front of us but it’s an exciting one, and one both the team and I are ready for.”