After a long wait, Caterham F1 have finally announced their driver lineup for the 2014 Formula 1 season. While Caterham F1 is our own Paul Charsley’s favorite back marker, he’ll be doubly excited this year as the team has chosen one of his favorite unsung drivers in Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi.
Kobayashi turned down an extended contract with Ferrari for an expanded role in their driver program to secure the Caterham F1 seat with no pay saying:
“I am 27, I still need more to race in F1,” said Kamui. “That is why I chose to come back to F1.
“Ferrari offered me another contract, and Stefano is not happy I didn’t take it. But it is only my decision to be here.
“I took a risk in my life but it is important for me.
“Caterham needs some different energy and my experience is quite useful for this team. We’ll see what I can do. I am quite confident.”
Joining Kobayashi will be Marcus Ericsson on the team and team boss Cyril Abiteboul said:
“I’m very pleased we can finally unveil our F1 and GP2 drivers for the year ahead. The process may have taken longer than we’d have liked, but we didn’t want or need to be rushed into such important decisions, and we have been in the happy position of having a wide range of drivers to choose from for both series. I believe that we have exciting, 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 all five drivers.
“In F1, 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 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.
“Alongside him is Marcus who will be racing in his debut F1 season, but as a driver who has prepared perfectly for the step up with his graduation through the ranks. He started his single-seater 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 fulfil his obvious potential in Formula One.”
American F1 hopeful, Alexander Rossi, has retained his role as the third driver for the team. The announcement means that Giedo Van der Garde is out and while he has secured a third-driver role at Sauber, his teammate from 2013, Charles Pic, seems to be left adrift.
AUTOSPORT has the 2014 driver grid as:
Red Bull-Renault Sebastian Vettel Daniel Ricciardo Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Ferrari Fernando Alonso Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault Romain Grosjean Pastor Maldonado McLaren-Mercedes Jenson Button Kevin Magnussen Force India-Mercedes Nico Hulkenberg Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari Adrian Sutil Esteban Gutierrez Toro Rosso-Renault Jean-Eric Vergne Daniil Kvyat Williams-Mercedes Felipe Massa Valtteri Bottas Marussia-Ferrari Jules Bianchi Max Chilton Caterham-Renault Kamui Kobayashi Marcus Ericsson