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Kobayashi on Formula E Radar

Kamui Kobayashi is being pushed by Formula E to become the third Japanese driver to race in the all-electric championship…..

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Kamui Kobayashi has emerged as a potential future racer in the FIA Formula E Championship.

The ex-Formula One driver, who is currently racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Super Formula for Toyota Gazoo Racing and KCMG respectively, is believed to have had some contact with teams about a future seat in the all-electric category.

E-racing365 understands that Kobayashi is a popular future choice with Formula E organizational hierarchy.

This is because Formula E has long since sought a high-profile Japanese driver within the series to drive interest in a potential event in the county, and also to attract a Japanese manufacturer to the championship.

Formula E Holdings executives, including CEO Alejandro Agag, have had several discussions with both Tokyo and Yokohama in the past regarding a an ePrix in the country.

However, a Season Four seat appears to be a long shot or Kobayashi.

“I’m looking but it is not easy,” he told e-racing365. “I can’t find it [a seat] for next season.

“I have this objective for sure because there are competitive drivers there, but it is not happening right now.”

NIO, formerly known as NextEV, is looking for a teammate to Oliver Turvey. The British driver is under contract for a third full season with the Chinese-entered team.

NIO team principal Gerry Hughes previously worked with Kobayashi at the Caterham F1 Team in 2014.

However, e-racing365 has discovered that Kobayashi is not currently on the short list for the seat alongside Turvey.

The team is believed to be testing a variety of drivers between now and the official test at Valencia next month before it unveils Turvey’s partner in the team.

As a result, the current Toyota WEC driver has limited options for the season ahead.

Venturi and Techeetah appear to be the only viable options open to Kobayashi as the season four grid starts to take shape, but they are both understood not to be currently considering the Japanese driver.

Kobayashi attended the Berlin ePrix last season and is known to be interested in forging a future career in the all-electric championship.

Formula E has had two Japanese drivers in its three season history.

Takuma Sato, who took part in the inaugural ePrix at the Beijing ePrix in 2014, and Sakon Yammamoto, who raced at the first Battersea Park event in 2015. Both drove for the now defunct Team Aguri squad.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Sam Smith is e-racing365’s Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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