Fans' money helped secure Kobayashi's drive
Kobayashi launched an online appeal called KAMUI SUPPORT to help raise funds for a drive after he was replaced at Sauber. Despite raising funds in the region of £1 million, he ultimately failed to secure a drive for 2013 but said the money will now go to Caterham as part of his new deal.
"I also want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to KAMUI SUPPORT," he said. "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."
The Caterham team has failed to score a point since its arrival in F1 in 2010, but Kobayashi is confident it will now start to make progress.
"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," he added. "For me, it's a chance to start again with a new team but one that's serious about progressing. 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."
Kobayashi said he was looking forward to getting back on track next week in Jerez.
"I can't wait to start work again. One of the benefits of 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!"