Caterham has confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi will race for the team in the Italian Grand Prix, with Roberto Merhi taking part in FP1.
Kobayashi was replaced by Andre Lotterer for the Belgian Grand Prix, with Lotterer impressing before retiring early in the race. Both Merhi and fellow Formula Renault 3.5 title challenger Carlos Sainz Jr had been in the running for a race seat at Monza
, but Caterham has now confirmed Kobayashi will return after Merhi's first FP1 outing.
Kobayashi said he is looking forward to trying the updated CT05 and understands why there has been uncertainty over the team's driver line-up.
“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.”
Merhi said his F1 debut would be a special occasion but that he feels fully prepared having been aware of the opportunity for a couple of weeks.
“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!" Merhi said. "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.
"Monza is also one of my favourite tracks – I ended up on the podium there earlier this year during my first race of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, so it's a circuit that will bring back very good memories. What a year it's been so far: last Christmas I didn't really know if I was going to carry on racing and now I'm about to drive a Formula 1 car! I'm definitely going to make the most out of this weekend in Italy."