Kobayashi could keep Andretti seat for Marrakesh

Ex-Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi could continue with the Andretti Formula E team this season after his Hong Kong series debut last weekend.

Kobayashi could keep Andretti seat for Marrakesh
 Kamui Kobayashi, Andretti Formula E
 Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, Kamui Kobayashi, Andretti Formula E
 Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, leads Kamui Kobayashi, Andretti Formula E
 Kamui Kobayashi, Andretti Formula E
 Kamui Kobayashi, Andretti Formula E

Tom Blomqvist, who raced for BMW in the DTM this season, was named on the FIA’s entry list for the 2017/18 ahead of last weekend’s double-header.

However, Toyota LMP1 driver Kobayashi partnered Antonio Felix da Costa instead, to the satisfaction of the series and Andretti’s main backer MS&AD, a major Japanese insurance company.

Kobayashi had no on-track Formula E experience prior to the race weekend but qualified 13th and 16th, then finished 15th and 17th after a pair of problem-hit races.

The expectation had been for Blomqvist to make his debut in Marrakesh, but Andretti co-team principal Roger Griffiths told Motorsport.com Kobayashi’s performance had “not made the decision any easier”.

Griffiths said: “The plan was always, ‘We’ll do this weekend and we’ll make no promises to anybody’.

“We’ve got to review how he got on, look at his qualifying performance and his race pace, his ability to save energy. I’m sure there’ll be a number of telephone calls [with BMW].

“We know he’s keen to do more races, we’ve just got to see how that fits with the overall programme.”

Andretti must confirm its Marrakesh drivers by the end of 2017.

It used one of its two permitted driver changes drafting Kobayashi for Hong Kong, but reverting to Blomqvist will not count as another.

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt said it wants Blomqvist to gain experience in Formula E and “the sooner he can do that the better”, but said the call is Andretti’s.

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