Kamui Kobayashi is not worried about losing his seat to a paying driver as such a move would hurt Caterham’s chances.
Caterham was sold to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors earlier this season, leading to rumours that neither Kobayashi nor team-mate Marcus Ericsson are safe.
But while Ericsson is paying for his drive through Swedish sponsorship, his team-mate is not – although he is driving for free.
Kobayashi, though, is confident Caterham won’t drop him in favour of a paying driver as he reckons it would hurt the team’s chances of fighting back against Marussia.
He told Autosport: “I don’t really worry about my race seat.
“There are always rumours, but it’s simple: getting the team eighth, ninth (in the championship) or whatever would be difficult with a pay driver.
“During the season it is not easy for a pay driver to reach that required performance straightaway.
“Maybe a practice or test opportunity will be OK for a pay driver, as this brings money to the team and they [the drivers] can get the experience.
“Otherwise, it is a big risk for them.”
The Japanese driver, who raised a bit of money through fans when he tried to find a seat on the 2013 grid, added that it is “really a shame” that Formula 1 is turning more and more to pay drivers.
“If we look back at Formula 1 10 years ago, there were probably just a couple of teams with pay drivers.
“Now, it seems that almost all the teams are doing this stuff.
“It’s about what the teams want and what the drivers can bring. It’s really a shame.”