Kobayashi thanks fans for financial support
21 January 2014 – Kamui Kobayashi has thanked his fans for the donations they have made to help him return to F1.
Shortly losing his seat with Sauber in the closing stages of the 2012 season, Kobayashi launched an online fundraising campaign in an attempt to boost the financial package that he could offer to teams.
Although he failed to secure a drive for the 2013 campaign, it was announced on Tuesday morning that the Japanese driver is to make his comeback with Caterham, partnering rookie Marcus Ericsson.
Speaking after the deal was announced, Kobayashi said the funds raised are playing a key role.
"I want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations," Kobayashi explained at the team's factory in Leafield. "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 will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud."
Kobayashi added that he turned down a fresh sportscar deal with Ferrari, which would also have seen him undertake Formula 1 simulator duties, to join Caterham, with whom he will race for free this season.
"I'm 27, I still need to race in F1," he said. "That is why I chose to come back to F1. Ferrari offered me another contract, and [Team Principal] Stefano [Domenicali] is not happy I didn't take it. But it is my decision to be here.
"Caterham needs some different energy and my experience is quite useful for this team. We'll see what I can do.
"I'm driving for free, it is my decision. It is just my approach. I want to do this job. This appeals to [founder] Tony [Fernandes], this was the message to Tony and he is happy about that. I want to help the team. I don't care about the money. I want to be successful in my life and I want to bring the team back successfully in my goals."