Kamui Kobayashi is set to return to Formula 1 with Caterham after emerging as the most qualified candidate for the seat.
With rookie Marcus Ericsson likely to be in the other car the team has been keen to employ an experienced driver. Heikki Kovalainen has been in the frame for months, and until recently was under contract to the team, but as is well known he does not have any sponsorship. The same applies to Paul di Resta, the only other experienced driver who competed in 2013 and is without a drive.
At the same time Tony Fernandes and his fellow shareholders are reluctant to keep pumping money into the team, and thus the ideal candidate would have experience and a budget.
Although he last raced in Formula 1 in 2012, Kobayashi is eminently qualified – having compared well with Sergio Perez at Sauber – and more importantly unlike Kovalainen, he has sponsorship. Sources told FOXSports.com that he has a budget of 6 million euros.
Kobayashi’s return will be well received by both Bernie Ecclestone and Honda, owners of Suzuka, as it will be a major boost for the Japanese GP.