Kamui Kobayashi says he offered to drive for Caterham for free in order to facilitate a return to Formula One.
It was announced on Tuesday that Kobayashi would be driving for Caterham
alongside Marcus Ericsson in 2014 as the team opts for an all-new driver line-up. Despite his experience with Toyota and Sauber, Kobayashi revealed he wouldn't be paid at Caterham and was just focusing on showing his potential after a year without a drive.
“I don't care about the money,” Kobayashi said. “I just want to be successful in my life and I want to bring the team success. This is my goal ... I just say what I can do, I don't need money.”
Asked if he told Tony Fernandes that he would drive for free, Kobayashi agreed, adding: “I'll do my job. I'm very happy driving and I want to be successful in this team.”
Having been racing for Ferrari's GT team in 2013, Kobayashi said he felt joining a team which has still yet to score a point in its history was a risk worth taking.
“I feel that I'm 27 and I still needed to do Formula One … I've taken a risk of course, but it's very important for me. And of course Caterham needs some different energy and I think that my experience is quite useful for this team, so we'll see what I can do but I am quite confident.”
Team owner Fernandes said he had chosen Kobayashi in order to give the team some “adrenaline” ahead of the new season.
“Whether I get a million [pounds], half a million or two million – in the scheme of things – makes no difference when you're talking about £80million budgets. So what we thought Kamui brought is maybe that little bit of spark, something that you can't really quantify.
“Something that motivates the rest of the team to say: 'We've got a chance now; we've got a warrior who is going to go in there to do whatever to move this team up.' That drives people a little bit more.”
Kobayashi will be partnered by Marcus Ericsson (centre) and test driver Robin Frijns (right)