• Caterham

Kobayashi retains Caterham drive for Monza

ESPN Staff
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Kamui Kobayashi will be back in his Caterham race seat for the Italian Grand Prix after being replaced by Andre Lotterer in Belgium.

Kobayashi took no part in proceedings at Spa-Francorchamps and there was speculation he would be replaced again this weekend. But Caterham confirmed on Thursday morning Kobayashi would return this weekend - though he will hand his car over to Roberto Merhi for FP1 - but did not state whether he will remain in the car for the rest of the season.

"I am working for Caterham F1 Team and I always respect team decisions," Kobayashi said. "Now I am back in the car and looking forward to going racing again! We have worked hard as a team and added performance to the car as well as bringing new updates since I last drove in Hungary before the summer break, so I'm looking forward to feeling the updates on track here in Monza.

"I always enjoy the Italian GP, not only because of its high-speed nature; I also like the Italian fans, they are always very enthusiastic and a very big part of the Italian GP weekend. They create a very special atmosphere."

By appearing in FP1, Spaniard Merhi will make his first appearance in an F1 session. Merhi won the European Formula Three title in 2011 before spending two years driving for Mercedes in DTM and is currently second in Formula Renault 3.5 behind Carlos Sainz Jr.

Merhi said: "I am delighted to be taking part in my first ever Formula 1 Free Practice session and I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this opportunity - it's something I've wanted for a very long time! I've been working very closely with the team during the last few weeks and I feel ready for this opportunity; Friday is going to be a very special day for me and one I will never forget."

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