Caterham deny telling Kamui Kobayashi to retire at Russian GP

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Kamui Kobayashi
Kobayashi said there was "nothing wrong with the car" after Sunday's Russian GP

Caterham have denied Kamui Kobayashi's claims that they told him to retire from Sunday's Russian Grand Prix to save mileage on parts.

Caterham's new owners have been struggling to get the team financially stable since taking over in July.

Team principal Manfredi Ravetto said they ordered Kobayashi to stop on safety grounds because of a brake problem.

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Ravetto said he "cannot understand" Kobayashi's remarks.

Kobayashi had said after retiring 21 laps into the race: "Nothing wrong with the car. The team asked me to stop the car to save mileage.

"We have a lot of mileage limitation to avoid things going wrong with the parts. This is why I get message from top management."

The Japanese former Toyota and Sauber driver's future with the team has been in doubt since the takeover but Kobayashi said that he "expected to race" in the next event, the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, from 31 October to 2 November.

However, the team are expected to see whether there are viable alternatives, and it is believed they may replace him with Roberto Merhi if the Spaniard is granted the necessary F1 super licence.

Roberto Merhi
Roberto Merhi may replace Kobayashi after impressing during practice sessions at the last three grand prix weekends

The 23-year-old has driven for Caterham in practice sessions in Italy, Japan and Russia - three of the last four races.

Ravetto said the team were hopeful of a strong end to the season and he dismissed rumours that they had already relocated their base from Leafield in Oxfordshire to Germany.

He said: "For avoidance of any doubt, I'd also like to add that Leafield remains the team's base, even though it's no secret that we are looking for a more suitable alternative.

"We look forward to the final three races of the season; we will keep fighting, we will keep improving and we will introduce some positive surprises."