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Kobayashi and Ericsson Complete 2014 Grid; van der Garde takes reserve role at Sauber
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  21 Jan 2014   |  1:51 pm GMT  |  46 comments

Caterham F1 have today announced Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson as their 2014 race drivers, and in doing so have completed this year’s Formula One grid.

Ericsson will race with the number 9 and Kobayashi 10.

The line-up has been expected in recent weeks with Kobayashi always on the verge of a race seat following his untimely exit at the end on 2012, when it seemed he had a budget in place to retain his seat at Sauber. However, the funding behind Esteban Gutierrez and the signing of Nico Hulkenberg left the popular Japanese driver looking elsewhere.

After a year in the World Endurance Championship racing for Ferrari, the twenty-seven year old returns to F1 at the start of an exciting era.

“For me, it’s a great honour that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms and the experience I have.” said Kobayashi.

“I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it’s clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress. Last year was a tough season but the new rules this year mean that everyone in F1 is starting again and, that means everybody has a chance to improve. From what I’ve seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come.”
 
For Ericsson, who has been on the motor sport radar since 2007 under the guidance of former Indy Car driver and compatriot Kenny Brack, this progression comes following four seasons in GP2, in which he had two victorie

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46 Comments
  1. Stephen Taylor says:

    Welcome back Kamui.

    1. VintageF1 says:

      +1 a worthy competitor

    2. JEZ Playense says:

      Really great news to see Kobyayashi back on the grid!

      Great for F1 too as an Asian driver will help attract /excite the public in that region.

  2. Paul D says:

    Great to see Kamui back.

    He’s a real agressive gutsy racer and I love that. Shades of JPM and Mansell in his style.

    1. Chris says:

      Spot on :)

  3. Steve Rogers says:

    It’ll be good to see Kamui again. He’s got talent and is also especially fluent in English, which makes for good interviews.

    1. J.Danek says:

      You really think so?

      Kobayashi’s English is TERRIBLE! He was nearly unintelligible in a fan forum he did w/ Lewis Hamilton a few years ago that (iirc) James moderated.

      Giedo van der Garde’s English – like all Dutch – was impeccable, in contrast.

  4. Goob says:

    If F1 was about racing and excitement, Kobi would be in a top team…

  5. Chris Brown says:

    James

    Only 2 wins in 4 years of GP2? Is Ericsson good enough to have earned his spot in F1 vs the the other GP2 contenders. I ask because I don’t know much about him.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I get the definite impression these days that when it comes to stepping up to F1 from GP2 it’s not about how many wins or titles you have but how much cash you can accrue along the way.

      Sad really.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      I did see glimps of this Ericsson here and there but as a real standout I’m not so sure, it might be down to a budget again but we’ll see I say good luck to both of them, Kobayashi is exciting to watch and his overtaking moves are more skilled than it seems he’s also quick under certain conditions, I rate him better than ‘boring’ Perez who was obviously given better strategies at Sauber due to hos Mexican money but we saw at Suzuka when Kobayashi was given the attention from 2010-2012 he made excellent performances possible in quali and race, if Caterham can give him a decent car with decent support maybe Kamui can earn the team their first points, who’s to bet Kobayashi wipes the floor with Chilton.

  6. Simmo says:

    I’m so happy to hear about this! Hopefully Kobayashi will get taken by a mid team next year, and it will be interesting to see how Ericsson does!

  7. David says:

    Yeah – Great to have Kobayashi back on the grid again.

  8. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Ericsson maybe had three -not two- victories in GP2, I think. Anyway he is in F1 now, but it’s sad -and maybe “unfair”- for Van der Garde to lost a seat in the grid.

    But it is what it is.
    Move on
    Bring the test on
    Go 44

  9. Tom says:

    The news about Kamui is the best news I’ve heard so far about the upcoming season. I’ve missed his fighting spirit. Yesssss boy! Kamui… ganbatte kudasai!

  10. Blaize says:

    Glad to see Kamui back though I’m not sure what he can do from there.

    But Ericsson getting on the grid despite finishing 6th in GP2 makes a mockery again of that entire series.

    Whats the point of a Feeder Series if the best drivers are never picked. Also how come the best drivers don’t have sponsors flocking to them.

    Motorsport has so many problems and has to be one of the few sports where money means more than talent

    1. Erik says:

      Ericsson had 2nd most points last 6 races. Was in a team with a lower budget and he has very low sponsor money. If he has no money then he must know how to drive. I was surprised to see him in F1, not for lack of speed but due to his lack of money :)

      1. Blaize says:

        I refer to my reply to Magnus. While I have no doubt Ericsson is a good driver the facts don’t lie that no driver from outside the top 2 final standings in GP2 has made any real impact.

    2. Magnus says:

      So the best drivers are Always in the winning team? What i recall so did Fernando end webber drive for Minardi so having the best car isnt to be the best driver.

      1. Blaize says:

        Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure that Alonso and Webber were both not pay drivers or a t the very least not in the manner we know today.

        I’m not claiming Ericsson isn’t good but whats the point in the feeder series if the only driver getting promoted finished 6th?

        The most successful GP2 drivers on the grid are those who won the championship in Hamilton,Rosberg,Grosjean and Maldonado. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

        Then you look at the most promising talent on the grid Hulkenberg, well blow me he won the championship too. Not 2nd,3rd,4th,5th or 6th. No he won it.

        Winning the GP2 championship proves that you are a quality driver. So its laughable that for the last 3 seasons the best driver hasn’t come through.

        Then we look towards the most successful driver to come through who didn’t win the championship (excluding Heikki since he competed way back in 2005)which is Perez with his 3 podiums in F1.
        Where did he finish before coming through to F1? 2nd.

        The drivers who come through from below that top 3 have really failed to make any major impact. But even finishing 3rd in GP2 hasn’t guaranteed success. Gutierrez had a rough first season in F1. Bianchi has promise but Chilton began to match him late on.

        So yeah the best GP2 graduates are the ones who Win the Title. The facts don’t lie

    3. Dave Emberton says:

      I have to agree. There were better people in GP2, and look at what happened to Valsechi?

      I’d almost like to see a clear succession in the rules: i.e. to get an F1 super-licence you have to have won the GP2 championship. At least that would guarantee a high standard of divers, and would make GP2 more interesting.

      1. Jonathan says:

        no. it would guarantee that the driver from the best funded team would be getting the super-license.

  11. Simmo says:

    On an unrelated topic, is it true that Lotus are confirmed to be using Renault engines for next year, and that their engineers helped to develop the KERS, so this is the cause of the delay?

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Well I don’t know what’s going down at Caterham regarding power units but if they have no ERS then theres no point even turning up next season.

  12. AlexD says:

    Maybe it was always like this…but there is something very wrong with F1. Teams that cannot afford to race and we have more pay drivers than drivers with the salary…

    Maybe LDM is right, it is better to give 4 big teams an opportunity to have 3 cars…

    1. …so that when two of the big teams leave, we are left with the 14 cars on the grid?

      Doesn’t make sense. The cost cap is the answer.

    2. Michael Carty says:

      Watch Rush. Thats how Nikki Lauda got into F1. He paid his way in. Same as Alonso. I know its far from idea. Robin Frijns more than deserves a shot at F1. At least he has a reserve role this year. Hopefully he gets some test days

    3. Dave Emberton says:

      It’s always been like this, probably worse in fact. You can label the likes of Maldanado a “pay driver”, but he’s no gentleman driver 5 seconds off the pace – he’s probably worthy of a seat in F1 even if he gets an unfair boost because of his backing.

      And we have Kvyat and Magnusson who as far as we know have been chosen on talent not money.

      I bet there were better funded drivers than Kobayashi and Ericsson too. But the real issue for the “B” teams is that the promised cost cap never appeared, and they get an unfair deal on the prize money. If you took £10m off RedBull it would barely make a dent, but that £10m would be a huge boost to Maurusia (sp?).

  13. John B says:

    Got a lot of respect for Kobayashi after revealing he’s turned down GT racing and simulator work with Ferrari I order to be racing in F1 for free! A true racer who would give everything to be in F1. Considering his fans have donated £1m in the last year to pay for his seat shows how much support the guy has got! Good luck Kamui!!

    1. J.Danek says:

      Actually it’s terrible that KK’s fans have had to PAY the elites who run F1 and the teams for him to race, rather than their treating Kobayashi like a professional (and the fans like resources) and paying him a professional’s wage to compete.

      But, this is just another example of neoliberalism’s co-opting of rational thought in the same way that ignorant voters are happy to see govts in UK and USA cutting benefits to normal people just to in-turn fund massive corporate welfare schemes (including global, bulk surveillance of the Internet and mobile phone SMS traffic).

  14. Quade says:

    Very good. Kamui is a fast driver that definitely deserves a place in F1.

    Another Japanese driver I’d love to see back is Takumah Sato. He crashed a lot, but is very fast and there is every chance he could have matured like Grosjean did.

    1. TheLollipopMan says:

      Sato is 37, too old for an F1 comeback. He had six seasons in F1 and failed to impress, which was disappointing because I saw him win in Macau in 2001, and he absolutely blitzed the F3 field. I had high hopes for him in F1, but he succumbed to his own over-exuberance, as Grosjean nearly did. Thankfully Sato has since forged himself a top career in IndyCars. Kobayashi is much more F1 material, as he’s patient, analytical and tenacious.

      1. Quade says:

        Sato 37! It makes sense, but I didn’t even think about that. Time really flies in F1.

  15. Truth or Lies says:

    Great and very welcome news!

    I know its not a great car, or at least hasn’t been up to now, but at least Kamui will shine if given half a chance.

    Being on the grid is better than not being there, I still think he could make it to a better team.

    Lets see, fingers crossed and the very best of luck Kamui !!

  16. Luke Dalton says:

    great to see kobaybashi back, but not great to see yet more lame choices for driver numbers – 9 & 10

    1. Random 79 says:

      I understand that when Montoya was looking to re-enter F1 he asked to have pi.

    2. Jana says:

      Bar Hamilton, Sutil, Bottas, and to an extent Maldonado, the choice of numbers has been very unadventurous, hasn’t it?

      I think we might have to give it a few years before higher numbers are picked, as new drivers come along. A shame really.

  17. F1mix says:

    Marcus Ericsson is the first swedish driver in Formula 1 since 1991. Stefan Johansson was the last Swede in F1.

  18. Dave Aston says:

    Fantastic news! A real racer back on the grid. Has any driver in midfield teams ever generated as much love from fans as Kamui?

  19. JohnBt says:

    It’s great to see Kobayashi back in F1. I’m sure he’ll bring some excitement. All the best to Kamui.

  20. Howard P says:

    Haha what a star, shame it’s in a Caterham so even his bold moves will be quite limited, unless of course the new regs shake up everything to the extent that they’ve caught up by 3 seconds

  21. Arnie S says:

    Ericsson drove iSport 2012. He was supposed to be a title contender with DAMS 2013, but had his share of bad luck in the first half of GP2 last year but in second half he started scoring points and podiums.

    He is a good driver, but as someone said, it might not be fair to Leimer, but who said that F1 is fair in the first place.

    I just hope he can lap Chilton.

  22. Michael Carty says:

    I dont follow GP2 as closely as F1, but I have kept an eye on Ericsson. From memory he always out performed his team mates. What more can you ask for than that. Lets give him a chance but I do feel sorry for Pic and Van Der Garde

  23. Paul says:

    James – I read a quote somewhere that Van Der Garde said he had the option of a race seat at Caterham but instead chose (his choice!) to share a reserve seat at Sauber. Surely there can’t be any truth behind that statement can there?

    1. Ross says:

      If I was VDG I too would have chosen the 3rd seat at Sauber over another year at Caterham.

      He has a big budget and Sauber need the money. So long term he will get a chance at an established midfield team. Even before VDG was announced there, if you asked me which driver on the grid is most likely to be replaced mid season it it would have been Esteban Gutiérrez.

      I fully expect to see VDG in a race seat at Sauber at some point in the near future.

      1. Paul says:

        Interesting. Thanks for the insight Ross

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