Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted January 22, 2014 10:27
Caterham also hires GP2 driver Marcus Ericsson
After a one year break, 27-year-old Japanese Kamui Kobayashi is back in Formula One after Caterham finally confirmed his appointment, along with GP2 driver Marcus Ericsson, for the 2014 F1 season.
Kobayashi spent 2013 driving for Ferrari's GT programme in the World Endurance Championship.
"It's a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I'm really pleased it's with Caterham. 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. I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it's clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress. From what I've seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come," said Kobayashi.
The 23-year-old Marcus Ericsson has spent four years in GP2, getting 3 wins – one in 2010, 2012 and 2013. His best finish in the championship race is 6th last year. The Swede drove for Brawn’s F1 team in 3 days of testing in Jerez in 2009.
"This is a very proud day for me and everyone has helped make my F1 dream come true. I'll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham in 2014 and I'm already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular," Ericsson said.
Meanwhile, GP2 series Best Rookie driver Alexander Rossi was also signed as the team's reserve driver and official GP2 driver for 2014.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Kamui back. He is a very popular driver and it’s very good for the whole team 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. Alongside him is Marcus who will be racing in his debut F1 season in 2014, but as a driver who has prepared perfectly for the step up to F1 with his graduation through the ranks. He started his single-seat career by winning Formula BMW UK in 2007, and rose through the ranks to GP2 where, last year, he won in Germany, scored two poles, three fastest laps and five podiums. He’s physically and mentally prepared for what lies ahead, and he will have all the support we can give him across the team to help him fulfill his obvious potential in Formula One,” said Team principal Cyril Abiteboul.
Kobayashi and Ericsson replace Giedo van der Garde, who is now Sauber’s test and reserve driver, and Charles Pic, who was left unsigned.