Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Kamui Kobayashi Set for Return and More
Kamui Kobayashi could be on course for a return to Formula One.
His probable destination is Caterham, as the team turns to experience in their attempt to fight back after coming last in 2013.
Elsewhere, Eddie Irvine has received a six-month prison term for a fight in an Italian nightclub and Lotus boss Eric Boullier says his will not be the only team to miss the first pre-season test at Jerez.
Kamui Kobayashi Set for F1 Return with Caterham
Rumours are circulating that Caterham will soon unveil Kamui Kobayashi as one of their drivers for the 2014 season.
The Japanese driver was a surprise absentee last season as a multitude of pay drivers snapped up every spare seat.
Now reportedly packing a small (by F1 standards) $6m budget of his own, per Autoweek, he could provide the perfect blend of skill, experience and cash for the struggling Malaysian team.
A Caterham spokesman told Sky F1:
There are lots of drivers being linked with Caterham at the moment, which is very good news for us.
I think it's flattering that somebody of Kamui's experience, talent and popularity would be linked to our team.
We will be making an announcement on drivers in due course and there are a number of drivers of Kamui's experience who are being considered.
Heikki Kovalainen is probably the other experienced driver in the frame. Caterham's 2013 drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde are the main contenders for the other seat.
Eddie Irvine Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison
Former Ferrari, Jaguar and Jordan driver Eddie Irvine has been sentenced to six months in prison by an Italian court.
Irvine was involved in a nightclub altercation in Milan way back in 2008. His opponent in the scuffle, Gabriele Moratti (a wealthy son of even wealthier politicians), was also found guilty and sentenced.
Irvine said, per the Telegraph:
I arrived around midnight and sat at a table in the VIP room. I drank a vodka with lemon and while I was talking with (a woman) on the sofa, Moratti hit me with two or three punches. He hit me from behind. I lost my balance and I fell to the floor. Someone tried to restrain Moratti.
Meanwhile, Moratti claimed Irvine hit him with a glass.
Fans of the renowned playboy won't be surprised to learn that witnesses claimed the two clashed over a woman. But Moratti's lawyer dismissed the suggestion, telling Reuters (h/t to the BBC):
Obviously it's easy for newspapers to say they fought because of jealousy over a woman, that they were two men who were rivals for her. It's a nice story. But in reality that's not the case.
Whatever the cause, Eddie shouldn't worry too much. The Italian legal system is notoriously slow-moving, and only one in five people given a custodial sentence ever go to jail, according to Just Landed.
The Telegraph states that an appeal will almost certainly push the case beyond the time limit (statute of limitations), rendering the conviction and sentence void.
Lotus Boss Eric Boullier Says Other Teams Will Also Miss First Test
Lotus announced earlier in the week they'll be missing the first test at Jerez in late January.
The British team will instead be launching their car before the second test, which takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit in mid-February.
McLaren, Mercedes and Caterham have confirmed they will be at the first test, but Lotus boss Eric Boullier says his team will definitely not be the only ones missing.
He told BBC Sport at least one other team was also running behind:
You will see, we will not be the only team not being in Jerez. I know this for a fact already.
We already said a month ago that it is going to be tight. Actually most of the teams agreed it was going to be tight. Then it was a decision we took.
Boullier didn't name names, but the smaller teams are more likely to be behind schedule.
Last year, Williams did not have their 2013 challenger ready on time and ran their 2012 car at the first test. Marussia were the last team to completely miss a test, back in 2012.
The Numbers Game
Jenson Button last night became the latest driver to confirm his driver number for the rest of his career. The 2009 world champion tweeted:
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) January 10, 2014
This was the number carried by Button when he won the title for Brawn.
A full list of known preferences (but not necessarily confirmed numbers) is available here.
Bonus: The Streets of Monaco
Whoever said no news is good news has never tried to write an F1 news article in early January.
So here's a little bonus. This isn't really news, but The Sun (subscription required) reported it like it was yesterday and it's well worth a look if you haven't seen it before.
Yacht Island Design are still searching for a customer for their absurdly brilliant "Streets of Monaco" superyacht.
It features a go-kart track version of the Circuit de Monaco, replicas of the Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel de Paris and ocean-sized run-off areas.
You can download a full brochure here.
A snip at £244 million.