Kamui Kobayashi will return to his race seat for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after being benched by Caterham in Belgium.
The Japanese racer returned to Formula 1 at the beginning of the year after a season in sportscars, but following the sale of the team to a Swiss-Arab consortium, his place has been at risk.
For the Belgian Grand Prix, Kobayashi was dropped in favor of three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer, allowing the German to make his F1 debut. It is thought that he was also offered the seat for the race at Monza this weekend, only to turn it down.
The plan originally appears to have been to give 23-year-old Roberto Merhi his F1 debut, but he will only take part in FP1 for Caterham as he has not yet obtained an FIA superlicense required to take part in a race.
As a result, Kobayashi will return to his seat this weekend, but it could be his final race of the season if Merhi manages to secure his superlicense by the time we head to Singapore in two weeks’ time.
“I am working for Caterham F1 Team and I always respect team decisions,” Kobayashi said. “Now I am back in the car and looking forward to going racing again.
“We have worked hard as a team and added performance to the car as well as bringing new updates since I last drove in Hungary before the summer break, so I’m looking forward to feeling the updates on track here in Monza.
“I always enjoy the Italian GP, not only because of its high-speed nature; I also like the Italian fans, they are always very enthusiastic and a very big part of the Italian GP weekend. They create a very special atmosphere.”
Merhi will replace Kobayashi for the first session on Friday at Monza. Marcus Ericsson will continue to run in the #10 car as normal.