Second chances don't come often in Formula 1, so Japanese racing driver Kamui Kobayashi must be thanking his lucky stars for another opportunity to take his signature banzai overtaking back on the grid--albeit on the tail end, unless the new regulations this coming season really mess up the pecking order of recent years.
The 27-year-old will race for Caterham F1 Team, which will run an all-new driver lineup in 2014. Kobayashi made his F1 debut in 2009 with Toyota, substituting for the injured Timo Glock in the last two races. After the Japanese carmaker pulled out of the sport at the end of that season, he signed with Sauber, where he stayed for three years until the lack of personal sponsorship forced him out of the team. His attempt to stay in F1 by soliciting donations from fans through the "Kamui Support" initiative was unsuccessful, so he spent 2013 competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with AF Corse (apart from, uh, crashing Ferraris).
"I can’t wait to start work again," Kobayashi said in Caterham's official statement. "One of the benefits of making this announcement so close to the start of the tests [is that] 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 on 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 will be joined by Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham garage. The 20-year-old moves up to F1 from GP2, where he took one victory, five podiums, two poles and three fastest laps in 2013. Alexander Rossi, meanwhile, will split reserve-driver duties with newcomer Robin Frijns.
Former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde has signed with Sauber as a reserve driver, while his 2013 teammate Charles Pic hasn't confirmed his next career move after departing from the squad.