Kamui Kobayashi is arguably one of the most popular characters in motorsport and his return to Formula 1 with Caterham in 2014 will be seen in a positive light by most Formula 1 fans who relish the spectacular driving style that made the Japanese driver famous from his very first grand prix in Brazil, back in 2009 with Toyota.
Kobayashi said of his return to the pinnacle of motorsport, “It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased that it’s with Caterham F1 Team. We’ve been talking to Cyril and Tony 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.”
“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 and I am so happy that I am able to make this announcement today. I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets.”
“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. Every single one of you who helped with KAMUI SUPPORT will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud.”
“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.”
“We’re all realistic about what we can actually achieve this year, and until we’ve run the car properly at the tests it’s still too early to see where we are compared to the other teams, but whatever happens we have to move forwards this year. For me, it’s a chance to start again with a new team…but one that’s serious about progressing, and for the team, 2014 is the first chance to show what they can do with all the people and infrastructure they’ve built up in Leafield since moving there in 2012.”
“I can’t wait to start work again, and one of the benefits to making this announcement so close to the start of the tests means I only have a few days to wait to get back on track! Before then I’ll be at the factory as much as possible, working in the simulator and with everyone there to prepare as much as we can for the tests in Jerez and Bahrain. Physically and mentally I’m fully prepared, now I just want to get back to work!”
Kobayashi scored 125 points in 60 race starts, including one podium and a fastest lap. He drove three races for the Toyota F1 team in 2009, before moving to Sauber in 2010 where he remained until the end of 2012. (GP247)
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