15 January 2014
Frijns to return to F1 fold for 2014?
Former WSbR champion and Sauber reserve Robin Frijns is reportedly on the verge of inking a deal to bring him back into the F1 paddock for 2014.
Robin Frijns looks set to claim another foothold in the F1 paddock less than twelve months after appearing to have made the step up with Sauber.
The Dutch ace, who was heavily courted after winning the 2012 World Series by Renault, was unable to find a race seat due to a lack of sponsorship, but seemed to have landed an opportunity to impress when he signed a test and reserve deal with Sauber ahead of last season. However, with hardly any track time coming his way, and no sign of a Friday morning practice outing on the horizon, Frijns split from the Swiss squad, preferring to concentrate on sporadic – but nevertheless impressive – races in the GP2 Series.
Now though the 22-year old appears to be on the verge of a return to the top flight, albeit in a similar role to the one he occupied at Sauber, with Holland's Dagblad de Limburger newspaper claiming that Caterham is poised to secure his talents. Frijns has so far refused to comment, but the report insists that the Dutchman could be announced as part of an all-new line-up at Leafield, alongside Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
The source claims that Frijns, a Limburger native, would be handed a guaranteed 16 days behind the wheel of Caterham's 2014 car, with eight appearances in F1 practice sessions on Friday mornings and eight further test days, beginning with his first run at the Jerez pre-season opener later this month.
Ironically, if the rumour is true, Frijns' arrival would coincide with the exit of the Netherlands' only other F1 pilot, as 2013 team-mates Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic look set to make way for the new trio. Kobayashi has been linked to Caterham since apparently being spotted leaving the team's HQ late last year, while Ericsson was a guest of the squad at the F1 season finale at Interlagos.
Pic and van der Garde were both listed as contenders for the 2014 line-up, as was Heikki Kovalainen, who made a series of Friday morning outings last season as Caterham attempted to sort its new car before stepping in for Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for the final two races. While van der Garde is known to have close ties to the McGregor clothing brand, however, sponsorship is likely to be the factor that precludes a return, with Ericsson expected to bring backing from his native Sweden and Kobayashi having had a year to rustle up the funds for an F1 return after being axed by Sauber ahead of the 2013 campaign.
Caterham has been notably active on Twitter of late, reacting to any story linking them to drivers for the coming season, but admitted to Sky Sports that it was 'flattering' to be linked with names of Kobayashi's experience. The team remains the only one not to fill a race seat for 2014, with the opening group test of the year just two weeks away.
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