After the news that Caterham F1 team would return for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, speculation has reigned over who would be the two drivers. Regular season driver Kamui Kobayashi was announced earlier this week as one driver, before Roberto Merhi claimed to have a contract for the second seat. After much speculation the second seat has instead gone to young British driver Will Stevens.
After rumours of Alice Powell, Roberto Merhi and Andre Lotterer being offered the seat, it now will go to Formula Renault 3.5 series front runner Will Stevens after he was granted a last minute superlicense for this weekend's race. Stevens was previously a Caterham junior driver and was also scheduled to have driven for Marussia during Free Practice in Japan, however was denied a superlicense last month.
Stevens commented on the news of his F1 debut this weekend "I'm absolutely thrilled to be getting this opportunity and am very grateful to everyone involved at Caterham F1 Team for giving it to me, I feel ready for the challenge of my F1 debut and look forward to working as part of the Team in a race environment after all the work we've done together previously in the tests I've completed and back at Leafield in the sim. Hopefully this will be something we will be able to carry through to the 2015 season together."
Caterham head of engineering operations Gianluca Pisanello also commented on the announcement "We know Will very well through his involvement in the Caterham Racing Academy and more importantly he has done a vast amount of time in our simulator, completing around 10,000km, which has built his experience both of this year's car and with the engineering team that are going to Abu Dhabi."
Pisanello also added " In addition, his 2014 test at Silverstone in our current car, where he completed over 500km, was very successful and his race pace was very good. As a result, he was one of our best candidates for this race weekend and we are delighted to have secured his services for our return to the F1 grid.We in fact signed Will last week but have had to wait for confirmation of his Super licence before making our announcement."
Despite the well publicised problems for the Caterham team recently, it's now great news the team will be able to carry on racing this weekend. For the staff and for F1 debutant Will Stevens it will be brilliant to simply return to work in the F1 paddock. Hopefully this weekend will provide enough of a spark for the team to find an investor or buyer so they can carry on in 2015. What are your thoughts on Stevens making his F1 debut?