After losing his seat at Caterham amid the team’s financial collapse at the end of 2014, Kamui Kobayashi has today announced that he will be returning to Japan to race in the national Super Formula championship.
In a statement on his Facebook page, the former Sauber and Toyota driver confirmed that he would be joining the series for 2015 as he looks to revive his racing career following a tough year with Caterham in 2014.
“I join Super Formula series for 2015,” Kobayashi wrote. “Happy to back my home race after 12 years in Europe. I would like provide exciting driving and amazing show on track! All races will take place in Japan so please come to Japan and let’s have a real race with me!” [sic]
Kobayashi made his F1 debut for Toyota back in 2009 before spending three years with Sauber, with the high point being an emotional podium finish at his home race at Suzuka in 2012.
For 2013, Sauber opted to draft in Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg, but Kobayashi landed on his feet by securing a works drive with Ferrari’s AF Corse team in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He finished seventh in the final GTE-Pro standings.
However, much to the fury of the Ferrari team, Kobayashi opted to walk away from the WEC in 2014 so he could join backmarkers Caterham in F1.It proved to be a disastrous move as the team’s financial woes meant it stood little chance on track
It proved to be a disastrous move as the team’s financial woes meant it stood little chance on track, and with Kobayashi not bringing backing to the team as a pay driver, he was left out in the cold and dropped for the Belgian Grand Prix to make way for Andre Lotterer. His final appearance for Caterham came in its last-minute comeback in Abu Dhabi where he retired late on.
Super Formula is a very competitive and exciting championship in Japan, and has welcomed a number of big racing names such as Loic Duval and Andre Lotterer over the past few years.
Kobayashi is unquestionably facing a fight to revive his career after his ill-fated year with Caterham, and this could prove to be the perfect platform to do exactly that.