Tony Fernandes has revealed that Robin Frijns almost secured a race-seat but instead Caterham opted to put him in a test driver role.
Last week Caterham announced that Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson would be this year's two race drivers while Frijns would take a support role as a test driver.
However, the 22-year-old Dutchman, who was dropped as Sauber's reserve last season, came close to securing his F1 debut.
"Robin is the most exciting young driver," Fernandes told Autosport.
"We think he has a huge future ahead and we hope we have a long relationship with him.
"There was a lot of debate about bringing him in straight away, and we erred a little bit on the side of caution.
"We thought we would be a little bit conservative in giving him time to get used to F1 and all the other changes."
Frijns will drive the new Caterham CT on the third day of pre-season testing at Jerez next Thursday.