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F1: Caterham Announces New Drivers For 'Pivotal' Year Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Jan, 22 2014 | 2 Comments

After a period of intense speculation, Caterham on Tuesday finally announced its all-new race lineup, thereby completing F1's field of 2014.

As expected, the Tony Fernandes-led team said returning Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi will be joined by Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Also as reported earlier, Dutchman Robin Frijns, who worked in a similar role at Sauber last year, will be a new Caterham reserve driver.

"The process may have taken longer than we'd have liked, but we didn't want or need to be rushed into such important decisions, and we have been in the happy position of having a wide range of drivers to choose from," said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

Japanese Kobayashi, renowned for his adrenaline-fuelled driving style, thanked his fans who pledged money to help the popular 27-year-old return to F1 after losing his Sauber seat in 2012.

"I am very pleased that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year," he said.

What is also clear, however, is that drivers with more lucrative backing were overlooked by Caterham.

"This wasn't about money," said team owner Fernandes. "Having him here is a good morale boost for the team."

Entrepreneur Fernandes, who also owns the Malaysian airline Air Asia, hinted that 2014 could be Caterham's last chance to score a point and move up the F1 grid after three years as a backmarker.

"There comes a point," he admitted to Britain's Sky. "I'm the most optimistic man in the world but you don't want to be coming last all the time. This is a very pivotal year."

(GMM)

 

Pic working with Craig Pollock, loses Caterham seat

Charles Pic will not be racing in formula one this season.

Having debuted for Marussia in 2013, and switching to Caterham last year, the latter team's boss Cyril Abiteboul announced on Monday that the 23-year-old French driver has been left without a race seat for 2014.

"Unfortunately Charles won't be with us this season," fellow Frenchman Abiteboul told Infosport+, "but I want to thank him for the job he did for us last year."

Pic was strongly backed in F1 by Idec Groupe, Lagardere and even Renault, and so presumably his successors at Caterham have arrived with even more lucrative sponsorship.

Abiteboul also hinted that performance may have been an issue, saying Pic "has some talent which can develop in a larger, more mature team".

Caterham, however, is the only remaining team in pitlane yet to announce its 2014 drivers.

The logos of McGregor, the sponsor of Pic's 2013 teammate Giedo van der Garde, have been removed from Caterham's official website, suggesting that the team will enter 2014 with an all-new driver lineup.

International reports say the most likely 2014 pairing is Kamui Kobayashi alongside rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Britain's Sky, the Reuters news agency, and France's RMC said Caterham is expected to confirm its new drivers on Tuesday.

RMC added that Pic, having worked until now with Olivier Panis, is now being managed by Jacques Villeneuve's well-known former manager, Craig Pollock.

(GMM)

 

Van der Garde becomes Sauber reserve

Speculation Caterham has decided to install an all-new race lineup for 2014 became certain on Tuesday.

On Monday, team boss Cyril Abiteboul told French television that Charles Pic will not be driving for the team this year.

And on Tuesday morning, the Swiss outfit Sauber announced that Giedo van der Garde, who was Pic's Caterham teammate in 2013, has been signed as reserve driver for the forthcoming season.

It further solidifies rumours Caterham will shortly confirm returning Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi alongside Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson for 2014.

Sauber said Dutchman van der Garde, 27, will this year take part in "some Friday sessions and several tests".

"He has four years experience in GP2 and he drove one year in formula one," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said. "These are good credentials to work successfully with our team."

Van der Garde, who is sponsored by McGregor and married to its chief Marcel Boekhoorn's daughter, said in the media statement that he wants to prove this year "that I deserve a race seat with the Sauber team in 2015".

(GMM)

 

Williams to run at Jerez, Toro Rosso passes crash tests

Williams has announced that its 2014 car will make its debut at Jerez next week.

"Valtteri Bottas will do days 1 and 2," the British team said on Twitter, "Felipe Massa days 3 and 4".

Grove based Williams added that the car will be in a "heritage blue livery", presumably as a precursor to an official launch, which has yet to be announced.

The team, a poor ninth in the 2013 constructors' standings, said on Saturday that boss Sir Frank Williams was present in the factory race bay when the newly Mercedes-powered FW36 was fired up for the first time.

"2014 starts here," Williams announced.

Meanwhile, the second Red Bull team Toro Rosso, having already announced a Monday launch before the Jerez test, said its new STR9 is now clear to debut after passing the FIA's mandatory crash tests.

An image of the car's frontal test can be seen at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BecS9zrCAAMYd_g.png:large

"A team truck will set off from the Faenza factory at the end of this week," Toro Rosso said on its website, "making the long trek to southern Spain, carrying not only the car but also all our hopes for the coming season."

(GMM)

 

2014 McLaren passes all crash tests

McLaren's 2014 car is now clear to make its track debut at Jerez in one week.

Earlier, reports suggested the new MP4-29 had failed one of the FIA's crash tests, which all must be passed before a wheel can be turned even in winter testing.

Spain's El Mundo Deportivo had said the new McLaren would undergo a new round of crash tests this week, so that it could be launched online this Friday in the knowledge it would then be clear to test a few days later at Jerez.

"Confirmed," McLaren told its almost half million Twitter followers on Tuesday. "MP4-29 has passed all its FIA crash tests."

(GMM)

 

Schumacher 'will not give up' - family

Jan.21 (GMM) Michael Schumacher's family has issued a statement but no new information about the health of the seven time world champion.

Some days ago, his manager Sabine Kehm said the great 45-year-old German remained in an artificial coma in a "stable" condition, and for the first time did not use the word "critical".

And the latest message from the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's family, including his wife, children, father and brother Ralf, said they are "deeply touched" by messages of support from around the world.

"That gives us strength," the statement reads.

"We all know he is a fighter and will not give up!"

One of the messages of support in the past days has come from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who said he is hoping "to hear some good news as soon as possible".

A neurosurgeon at France's university of Bordeaux, Jean-Marc Orgogozo, told Le Point newspaper: "Every day, every week you are in a coma, the chance that the situation will improve diminishes."

Schumacher fell whilst skiing in the French Alps a few days before Christmas, striking his helmeted head on a rock and lapsing into coma with brain injuries.

(GMM)

 
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