The Caterham F1 Team has announced that Kamui Kobayashi will drive one of its cars at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the team will return to the grid thanks in part to a crowdfunding effort following a two-race absence when the team was placed into administration.
Kobayashi will, however, not be joined by regular teammate Marcus Ericsson, who announced an immediate termination of his involvement with the team last week ahead of his off-season switch to Sauber.
Ericsson’s seat will go to the highest bidder, or perhaps to test driver Roberto Merhi, who claims that he has a contract to replace one either Kobayashi or Ericsson if that is required. The well-funded Spaniard has had several Friday practice outings for the team since September as part of an expected promotion to its race line-up, but he may not be the only one with a contract given the team’s desperate search for cash to see out the season.
The seat will not go to Audi endurance driver André Lotterer, however. The German had a one-off outing for the team at the Belgian Grand Prix (in place of Kobayashi) and confirmed that he had knocked back further invitations to race at Monza and this weekend’s Yas Marina race.
“I’m flattered because you don’t get the call to do F1 every day,” he told Autosport.
“The one-off at Spa was a great thing for me to do, but to do more would have to have been in a better situation – I don’t want to be a guy driving around at the back.
“If I could see opportunities in F1 to gain a better seat, it might be different, but it doesn’t look like that.”
Another driver who should be considered could be Rubens Barrichello. The veteran Brazilian – who last raced in F1 with Williams in 2012 – recently confirmed that he was very close to landing a deal to race for the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix, which ultimately didn’t proceed when the team opted to skip the race. His deal might be transferable to this weekend’s season finale.
Images via XPB Images