Andre Lotterer, three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner and former WEC co-champion will make his Formula 1 debut with Caterham this weekend at Spa.
The 32 year old German, who scored his third victory in at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi earlier this year will replace Kamui Kobayashi.
The deal is currently for one race as Caterham continues their restructuring process, the team has also said that Kobayashi “still remains part of the team”.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend – I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead,” Lotterer said.
Lotterer has had experience in Formula One in the past, albeit over 10 years ago. He was a test driver for Jaguar between 2000 and 2002, having numerous outings with the team.
“I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance,” he said.
Adjusting to the car may not come too difficult for the German, as the diesel powered Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro he drives in the World Endurance Championship produces similar amounts of torque and provides more downforce than a Formula 1 car.
To compensate for the luxury of high downforce, Lotterer also competes in the Super Formula series in Japan (formerly known as Formula Nippon), where he won the series in 2011. He currently sits second behind former F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima.
The decision to drop Kobayashi and keep rookie Marcus Ericsson would have been made from a financial perspective.
Caterham have stated that the team “will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German’s feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car”.
However, the choice to hire Kobayashi was to have an experienced driver in the team to help Caterham beat Jules Bianchi and Marussia. Kobayashi doesn’t bring much sponsorship money whereas team-mate Ericsson does.
Images via XPB Images