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

Kobayashi and Ericsson form all-new Caterham squad

2014 F1 season

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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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

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

    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. *Chilton retires out of the first five races*

        1. Chilton will match his record of 19 consecutive finishes with 19 consecutive DNFs this year.

        2. Chilton will match his record of 19 consecutive finishes with 19 consecutive DNFs this year.

    2. Would have been my preferred line-up too but at least VDG got a TD seat at Sauber and maybe we’ll see him back in 1 or 2 years.
      Though really glad that KOB is back.

    3. Agree. My dream Caterham partership would’ve been either Kobayashi/ Petrov/ Kovalainen. But I guess somebody needs to bring the money eh?

      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

    4. I wonder what numbers they’ll “Pic”. Geddit? Oh Nevermind…

        1. That joke was Trulli amazing ;-D

          1. lol! kimi a break

          2. They have some Lewis ends to tie up there . BUT I think they will get there.

          3. Oh for crying out Lauda.

          4. Looks like PIC needs to Hunt for a drive.

          5. Pic will have a Hill to climb to find one…

          6. Is there a Berger stall at the top of the hill?

          7. Pic seems he isn’t the Stewart of his own F1 career.

          8. Will you lot just be Kvyat!

          9. @keithcollantine Can there be multiple comments of the day? XD I nominate those ;)

          10. Oh you’re all taking the Pic now! ;)

          11. I’m not sure Webber I can take any of you seriously

          12. COTD? These are the Wurz comments I’ve ever seen.

          13. That was just on the Vergne of being funny…

          14. Its hard to come up with a comment that is better than Di Resta

          15. Well, you guys seem to be in fine Vettel.

    5. 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.

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

    1. How much bank interest does 8 million euro get ????

      1. At current rates, about £3.95!

      2. He should have invested it in Tesla; would have about 36 million euro now.

        1. +1 on that comment. Simple fact.

    2. Crowdfunding at its best.

      Oh Happy Day!

      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. At least the public then get some say. The alternative is sponsor-funded drivers.

          1. Sadly true.

        2. 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.

    3. Me too!!!!!!!!!

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

    1. We * stupid Phone

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


    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. @optimaximal Sorry for the mis-spelling of your name

      2. @montreal95

        Was thinking the same, this year, Koba will have the opportunity to score points, which wasn’t possible with the 2013 Caterham.

        Now, Koba is also up-to-date with the latest generation of cars.

      3. 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. Above is supposed to be an answer to Davey below ???

      4. I hope that Caterham finds itself in the points next year. Fernandez already said that if they won’t he walks.

    2. COTD. :-)

      1. what does COTD mean?

    3. LOL!

      Who knows they will find the golden spot…

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

      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. maarten.f1 (@)
          21st January 2014, 11:03

          @davef1 Racing drivers are not supposed to have personalities. I’ve learned that from Top Gear a long time ago :p

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

    3. 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. @slava

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

        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.

    4. 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.

      1. He is not overrated. He is likeable. Its good to see him back.

    5. I disagree totally except for this part:

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

    6. 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.

    7. 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. 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…

    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

  7. 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.

    1. They didn’t have enough money to buy a seat in F1.

    1. Seriously though, I’m marking out like a child over this news. Thank you Based Caterham!!

      Wow, it’s so awesome to see Kobayashi back again.

      1. hh YES YES! totally agree

      2. @magnificent-geoffrey

        Totally agree with you on that! Best news so far!! I hope he has a chance to shine in that Caterham!

    2. @magnificent-geoffrey Can we expect a green fish this year?

      1. It’s done already @magnificent-geoffrey … Beautiful there mate .

    3. @magnificent-geoffrey *high fives* best F1 news of the winter so far.

    4. I think you will have to redo that livery though, from the shots they gave so far, Caterham are going to have a lighter green mixed with white for the season. Lovely to see a bit of colour back on the fish though @magnificent-geoffrey!

      1. @bascb You were right. And by looking how quickly things are changing in F1, I think that @magnificent-geoffrey will have more updates of his fish livery than Seb Vettel his helmet designs!

  8. 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?

    1. @Geemac @andae23 Possibly…

      1. Brilliant!

      2. Better make that fish BRG/lime green/white

      3. @magnificent-geoffrey So, what’s going to happen to that big Peter Sauber tatoo on your back ;-)

  9. 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. Hip hip hooray

  11. 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. He’s good, but went into GP2 a little early (could have taken a year in FR 3.5), and has been recovering ever since, as he told Ted Kravitz on Sky (who also saw him dominate Formula BMW UK and hence isn’t surprised he’s in F1).

    2. 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.

  12. 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!

    1. Hi five fellow scandinavian :D – I’m Danish.
      f1 has been good to us lately (-Schumacher), and to get Kobayashi back is a real treat too.
      I just can’t wait for this season to start – much better than Christmas!

    2. Yes. A very different picture from years ago. Germans and Brits still dominate but we have less Brazilians and no Italians. Welcome Danmark and Sweden.

      1. Gosh, when did we last have an Italian on the grid? Was it Trulli in one of the Lotuses?

        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)

      2. Marcus has a strong teammate to beat.

    3. +1 Very good news!

  13. Well done, Caterham. You have a new fan.

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

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

    2. FlyingLobster27
      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. 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.

  15. 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)!

  16. Yes!!! Thank you Caterham, I love you!!!

  17. Yay! Great to see Kobi back in F1! Best of luck to him and his teammate with Caterham this season! :D

  18. 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 – Ericsson is believed to come with Business-to-Business opportunities that Tony Fernandes is keen to take advantage of.

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      21st January 2014, 13:48

      @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. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          21st January 2014, 15:03

          @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.

        2. According to Van der Garde himself, he chose to leave Caterham to do the sitting around in a polo shirt and headset thing at Sauber. http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/305526/van-der-garde-i-could-have-stayed-at-caterham/

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            21st January 2014, 22:13

            @sharoncom – I doubt that highly…