ALL NEW LINE-UP
Caterham F1 Team today announced the signing of their drivers for this year’s Formula 1 Season. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, and Swedish Marcus Ericsson are confirmed to be the two fortunate drivers.
For a couple of weeks now Caterham F1 Team have been the only entrants to have neither of their drivers signed for the 2014 Formula One Season, and with the confirmation of Max Chilton at Marussia last week, become the only team to have any empty spaces at all. The drivers were announced during a presentation at their Factory in Leafield on January 21, 2014.
Kobayashi is a very experienced driver with a more than 50 races under his belt. Starting his career at Toyota in 2009 to replace the injured Timo Glock, he moved to Sauber for the next three years where he enjoyed moderate success, scoring a podium in his home race in 2012. He was definitely a popular driver among fans, as he would often go for overtaking manouvers that others would not. Kobayashi was dropped by Sauber last year to make way for Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez, and his absence from the sport marked the first time sine 2001 that there was no Japanese driver on the grid.
Marcus Ericsson is a Swedish Rookie who has come through many of the junior Formulae, winning Formula BMW UK and Japanese F3 on his way to GP2, where he won one race. He will be one of two Scandanavian rookies, the other being Kevin Magnussen at McLaren.
It is understood that Ericsson and Kobayashi will use the race numbers 9 and 10 respectively for this season and any others in the future.
The team’s drivers from 2013 have both left the team, with Geido van der Garde moving to Sauber as test and reserve driver, and France’s Charles Pic leaving the sport altogether. It is unclear whether former Caterham man Heikki Kovalainen will re-join the team as a test driver, following his disappointing two races at the end of 2013 where he replaced Kimi Raikkonen.
It is not all plain sailing at Caterham, however. Team owner Tony Fernandes is feeling the economic pressure, and says that if the team fail to score any points in 2014, he may consider pulling the plug on the entire operation. Couple that with his confirmation that Julio Cesar is to leave QPR, the football team he owns, and it makes for a very blue January for the Malaysian Businessman.
In an interview, Fernandes said:
“If we’re at the back I don’t think I’m going to carry on. Nothing is set in stone but after five years with no points there is a limit to one’s patience, money, motivation, etc, so it’s an important year.
“I need to feel like we’re going somewhere. If I feel we can compete, then great but if we’re not competing then we have to seriously examine ourselves and ask – does this make sense?” [Source: Sky Sports News]
Being a back-marker in F1 has many drawbacks, and due to a lucky 13th place in Malaysia last year, it was Marussia that ended up finishing in 10th place in the championship and scooping the prize money. Caterham, Marussia and HRT all joined the sport in 2010 (albeit with different names) and none have scored a point thus far, leading HRT to bow out in 2012.