Kamui Kobayashi is set to return to F1 with Caterham after emerging as the most qualified candidate for the seat.
With rookie Marcus Ericsson likely to be in the other car the team has been keen to employ an experienced driver.
At the same time Tony Fernandes and his fellow shareholders are still reluctant to keep pumping money into the team, and thus the ideal candidate would have experience and a budget.
Heikki Kovalainen has been in the frame for months, and until recently was under contract to the team, but as is well known he does not have any sponsorship. The same applies to Paul di Resta, the only other experienced driver who competed in 2013 and is without a drive.
Although he last raced in F1 in 2012 Kobayashi is eminently qualified – having compared well with Sergio Perez at Sauber – and more importantly unlike Kovalainen, he has significant sponsorship. Sources told this blog that he has a budget of €6m.
If confirmed Kobayashi’s return will be well received by both Bernie Ecclestone and Honda, owners of Suzuka, as it will be a major boost for the Japanese GP.