Former Toyota and Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi could be making a trip back to Formula One in 2014.
Since departing from Hinwil in 2012, Kobayashi has been driving a Ferrari for AF Corse in the FIA World Endurance Championship and didn’t do badly with four podium finishes this past season. But Autoweek contributor Adam Cooper is now reporting that the Japanese driver may be on his way to Caterham, which has both of its 2014 seats open.
Kobayashi has 60 F1 starts to his credit with a best finish of third in the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix (pictured), so he checks off the experience box that Caterham presumably has on its driver wish list.
The quality is always handy to have but it may be even more important for the team should they opt to put GP2’s Marcus Ericsson into its second car over Giedo van der Garde, who improved nicely over the second half of 2013.
Cooper also relays word from sources that Kobayashi is bringing about $6 million in funding, which could also be a factor in his favor after Caterham lost out on a sizable batch of revenue when Marussia claimed 10th in the constructors’ championship.
With Kobayashi now in play, it would appear that Charles Pic’s grip on an F1 drive is less solid now. He told a French newspaper recently that he knew a final choice from Caterham would take time.
“Small teams in particular wait for the decisions of their more competitive rivals,” he said about the situation. “For me, it would be logical to stay at Caterham, but you can never be sure about anything in Formula One.
“The contract with Caterham is my first priority, but there are other options.”