The rebranded MS&AD Andretti Formula E team will run Toyota LMP1 factory ace, Super Formula driver and ex-Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi in its No. 27 car for the 2017-2018 FIA Formula E Championship season opener at Hong Kong in a few weeks.
Japanese driver Kobayashi will make his series debut alongside Antonio Felix da Costa, retained by the team for another season, and in place of Tom Blomqvist, who was announced by the FIA in the team’s second seat when the full entry list was released but not by the team itself. A good read explaining the background and predicament of how the seat has weaved to Kobayashi, at least for Hong Kong, is here via e-racing365.com.
“First of all, I would like to thank to Michael, the whole Andretti Formula E team and MS&AD insurance for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the Hong Kong EPRIX,” Kobayashi said. “Andretti is one of the world most popular racing families and I am so excited to have my Formula E debut race under his name. I will be going to the race weekend without testing which is not an easy thing to be honest, but the team has been giving me all the support so no worrying at all and I am really looking forward to having good races there.”
Adrian Britten, Director of Brand & Communications for MS Amlin, the London-based international arm of Japanese global insurer MS&AD, added: “We are delighted that Kamui Kobayashi has joined the MS&AD Andretti team and are looking forward to real excitement on the track. The welcome return of a Japanese driver to the Formula E grid will hopefully encourage a future Formula E race in Japan.”
Blomqvist wasn’t mentioned in the release and it’ll be interesting to see if the MS&AD Andretti squad, which made a number of driver changes in season one but has since retained consistency in its lineup – first with Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro in season two, then Frijns and da Costa in season three – will opt to switch things up after Hong Kong.