Japanese electronics giant Panasonic could make its return to F1 in support of Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi, according to the latest paddock whispers.

Panasonic could return to F1 After spending eight seasons as title sponsor to the Toyota F1 team, the company withdrew from the sport when Toyota closed its doors at the end of last season.

But at the time of the team’s withdrawal, Panasonic’s sponsorship contract had been extended until the end of the 2012 season, giving rise to speculation that the company was still interested in remaining in F1.

Rumours have suggested that Panasonic representatives met with Sauber and Kobayashi – who was himself a Toyota protégé – after his hugely impressive drive at the Japanese Grand Prix where the 24-year-old was the highlight of the race with some audacious overtaking moves during the race.

Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn raised hopes that Kobayashi’s inspired drive would raise interest in more backers from Japan in spite of the country’s ongoing economy problems.

Sauber has recently secured its financial wellbeing with the announcement of heavy Mexican backing from Telmex as part of it signing Sergio Pérez as the team’s second driver for next season.

[Original image via Toyota Europe]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.