Report: A return to F1 in Kamui Kobayashi’s future?

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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.”

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”