The 2014 F1 grid is now complete, with the confirmation that, as expected, Caterham has opted for an all-new line-up of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
The Leafield team is the last to reveal its hand for the coming season and, following the disappointment of finishing eleventh - and last - in the 2013 constructors' standings, have decided to turn to a more experienced hand in place of the inexperienced pairing of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde that it ran last season.
Kobayashi returns to the F1 fold after a twelve-month enforced absence, having been unable to raise the finance to remain with Sauber in 2013. The Japanese ace - who claimed his first podium on home soil in 2012 – spent the past year with Ferrari, racing in GTs and occasionally testing with its F1 programme.
“We've been talking to [team principal] Cyril [Abiteboul] and [owner] Tony [Fernandes] since last year about driving for the team for 2014 and beyond and, throughout all our discussions, I've been very impressed with where they want to take the team, and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals,” Kobayashi commented, “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.
“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 that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year.”
Ericsson, meanwhile, makes a long-awaited graduation from the GP2 Series, becoming the first Swede in the top flight since Stefan Johansson raced with AGS and Footwork in 1991.
“This is a very proud day for me and everyone who has helped make my F1 dream come true,” he admitted, “I'm already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.
“It's obviously great for Sweden that we'll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014. This is what I've been working for since I first started racing karts back when I was nine years old, and now I know I'm ready for the step up to F1.”
As well as revealing its race drivers, Caterham also confirmed that former Sauber reserve Robin Frijns would be fulfilling a similar role at Leafield.
“I am more than happy that Caterham and Renault have given me the chance to be in F1 in 2014,” the former World Series by Renault champion said, “Nowadays, it's rare to find an F1 team that will put so much trust in a young driver like me but, during the negotiations, I had a very strong feeling that the team really believes in me, which I couldn't appreciate more!”