Kobayashi and Ericsson get Caterham drives

21 Jan 2014 12:17

Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson have been confirmed as Caterham's new driver line-up for the 2014 Formula One season.

The pair have replaced sacked French racer Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, who has since joined grid rivals Sauber as a test and reserve driver.

Kobayashi joins Caterham, owned by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, who also controls English second-tier football club Queens Park Rangers, after a year away from the Grand Prix circuit following his release by Sauber.

Meanwhile Ericsson has been given a change to show what he can do at Formula One level following four years in GP2, where he finished sixth in last year's championship.

Caterham, who failed to score a point in 2013, were the last team to confirm their driver line-up for the forthcoming season.

"I'm very pleased we can finally unveil our F1 drivers for the year ahead," Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul said Tuesday.

He added: "I'm delighted 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.

"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."

Kobayashi made his name at Toyota in 2009 before joining Sauber for three seasons from 2010.

But despite a career-best finish of third at his home grand prix in Japan in 2012, the 27-year-old Kobayashi was dropped by cash-strapped Sauber because he was unable to bring enough money into the team.

Kobayashi responded by asking fans for donations on his website and he thanked his supporters for their backing as he celebrated his return to Formula One.

"For me, it's a great honour the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms, and the experience I have," he said.

"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.

"Their donations and gestures gave me extra strength to come back fighting and I am very pleased the money they raised not only helped me, but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year."