OCTOBER 11, 2012
Kobayashi unsure of F1 future
Kamui Kobayashi says he is unsure of a seat in F1 next year despite the podium finish in his home grand prix at Suzuka last week.
Kobayashi's first podium was Sauber's fourth of the season after second places from Sergio Perez in Malaysia and Monza, and third place in Canada. It was, however, the first achieved on pure pace, Perez taking advantage of the conditions in Malaysia and different tyre strategies in Canada and Monza after starting well down the grid. Kobaysahi has also outqualified Perez in nine of 15 rounds held to date.
Kobayashi admitted in Korea, however, that it may be necesssary to bring sponsorship to a team if he is to keep his position in F1. A number of other drivers have been linked to Sauber, including Nico Hulkenberg, Jaime Alguersuari, Telmex-backed GP2 driver Esteban Gutierrez and even Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado.
"A sponsor could help me to be in F1 next year but at the moment I have no sponsor," Kobayashi admitted. "It feels strange to need to find a sponsor to drive here or with another team. Money is very important but I would like to be be a top driver in a good team, sponsored, which is what I dreamed about when I was young.
"I think the money is very important for the future but maybe we are missing how a driver has to be -- thinking about his car and not about sponsors."
Kobayashi stressed that it was motor manufacturers that were important in Japan and that without them, after Toyota withdrew at the end of 2009, the large corporations such as Panasonic, do not stay. He said that if he ended up losing out to a driver with backing, he had to accept that it was 'destiny.'