Caterham F1 team have confirmed Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson as their driver pairing for the 2014 season. The announcement now confirms the whole of the F1 grid for the upcoming season.
The team also confirmed Alexander Rossi and Robin Frijns as their reserve drivers.
It is the return to F1 for Kobayashi who left the sport when he was dropped by Sauber in 2012.
“It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it’s with Caterham,” said Kobayashi.
“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.
“I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it’s clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress.
“From what I’ve seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come.”
F1 rookie Marcus Ericsson is a Swedish driver, the first of which to race in Formula One since Stefan Johansson back in 1991, who raced in GP2 last year and finished sixth in the table.
Ericsson said: “This is a very proud day for me and everyone has helped make my F1 dream come true.
“I’ll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham in 2014 and I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.”
Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is still in a critical condition after his skiing accident on Sunday morning.
The surgeon at Grenoble University Hospital Center, where Schumacher is being treated said: “He is fighting for his life, we judge him to be in a very serious condition, we cannot tell you what the outcome will be yet.
“He was the victim of very serious trauma. He was very agitated when he arrived and we decided he was in a critical situation and he quickly went into a coma.”
The former F1 driver is currently in an artificial coma after having surgery on the right side of his head, “he is still in a coma and will be kept in a coma. Everything that has needed to be done is being done.
“He is undergoing some treatments which are limiting the damage to his brain and we are trying to release pressure in his head. He situation is critical.”
The surgeon also said that Schumacher’s life was potentially saved by the helmet he was wearing, “without the helmet he wouldn’t be here now.”
A spokesperson at the hospital confirmed that his family are by his bedside and that the hospital was unwilling to give any further medical prognosis.
Sauber have confirmed that Esteban Gutierrez will stay at the team for the 2014 season.
In a late announcement on Saturday, the Sauber team announced the 22-year-old Mexican will partner up with German driver Adrian Sutil for next season. The Swiss teams sponsorship deal with Mexican telecommunications company Telmex will also continue next year.
Despite Gutierrez’s only points of the season coming from his seventh place at the Japanese Grand Prix, Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said the rookie deserves another chance: “Last season he experienced first-hand how hard it can be for a rookie to step into Formula 1.
“Nevertheless, throughout the season he improved significantly in qualifying as well as in the races and finished the season as the best rookie in the drivers’ championship.
“Often the results didn’t fully reflect his performances. I am confident Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results.”
Gutierrez said: “It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously. It will be my fourth year with the team, the second as a racing driver, and I feel comfortable in taking the next step.”
The news comes after a couple of week of speculation with regards to Gutierrez’s future. The young Mexican rookie had been looking around the Caterham and Marussia team factory in early December.
Sauber also announced that 18-year-old Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin will become a test driver for the team, as they look to develop his skills to become a future F1 driver. Given his lack of experience in top machinery, the Sauber deemed it too much of a risk to throw the Russian straight in at the deep end.
Pirelli have announced that are trying to construct a compound of tyres which reduces the amount of marbles on track in 2014.
The move comes after current F1 drivers voiced their concerns about the amount of debris on circuits. The marbles, which are discarded pieces of rubber from the tyres, make it nigh-on impossible for drivers to commit to an overtaking manoeuvre off-line.
“The drivers certainly have commented on it and we can understand it,” said Pirelli’s motorsport boss Paul Hembery. “So it’s something that we are trying to do.”
The Pirelli boss has acknowledged that the marbles are created through wear so the softer compound of tyre are the main culprits for creating marbles.
“We know that it’s clearly wear-related, it’s basically tearing of the tyres in some cases, certainly the super-soft and to an extent the softer tyre have not had the strength that we needed.
“You can see some races where we had almost no marbles when you are using the hard and medium, certain surfaces where it’s low abrasion. So we are working to try and improve that. The general comment from the drivers is ‘reduce marbles’.”
Paul Hembery has admitted that there is a great challenge to try and stop the Pirelli tyres discarding excess rubber.
“At the moment we’re doing a lot of work on scaling and understanding where we are with the different compounds, we wanted to try and improve things like the tear resistance of the compounds, which has a direct impact on marbles which is something we are trying to reduce for next year,” he said.
“With the increased wheelspin, that has a chance of creating more marbles compared to where we are today, so we have to increase the mechanical strength of the compounds.”
Whether the changes to the tyre will create a different feel for the drivers, who will have a whole raft of new change and developments on their 2014 cars, is not yet known.
There has also been some concern related to the safety of marbles. On more than one occasion over the past few seasons have drivers had large chunks of rubber, either coming off the drivers car in front or from the discarded rubber on the side of the track, hitting the drivers helmet. A few drivers have said that if their visor were to be open for cooling purposes and a piece of rubber were to strike them, the result could be similar to the damage caused to Felipe Massa at Hungary in 2009, if not worse. The Brazilian’s helmet was hit by a rogue spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car. Massa subsequently lost consciousness and crashed badly.
Formula One will introduce a ‘pole position trophy’ for the 2014 season. The FIA have added the new award to the world championship’s sporting regulations.
The driver with the most pole’s at seasons end will be rewarded at the FIA Gala with a trophy for their achievements. German Sebastian Vettel would have won the new trophy in four of the past five seasons should it have existed.
If there should be a tie in poles, the decision would be made on countback starting with the highest number of second places. Should the initial countback fail, the new regulations state that “the FIA will nominate the winner according to such criteria as it thinks fit”.
Sahara Force India have announced Sergio Perez as their second driver for the 2014 season and beyond.
The 23-year-old Mexican completes Sahara Force India’s 2014 line-up alongside Nico Hulkenberg and helps create one of the most exciting pairings on the grid.
The move means a whole new line up for the Silverstone team. Scottish driver Paul di Resta is now certain to join the Indy Car series in America, possibly taking his cousin Dario Franchitti’s seat at Gannasi. Whilst Adrian Sutil is looking to stay in the sport with another team, probably Sauber.