Kobayashi launches website to raise funds to try stay in F1

Kamui Kobasyahi

Kamui Kobasyahi has a battle on his hands to try stay in F1

Nov.24 (Reuters) Kamui Kobayashi, Japan’s only current Formula One driver, is hoping that a website campaign can help raise the funds needed to keep him on the starting grid next season after being dropped by the Sauber team.

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 November 2012.Speaking to reporters at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday after Sauber announced that Mexican Esteban Gutierrez would be taking his place in 2013, Kobayashi did his best to sound confident.

“We see I think still some seats that are available so we try to get a seat,” he said. “If we can find some sponsors I think it is easier.”

Kobayashi said money, or rather his lack of it, was “the main issue for sure” in why Sauber, who have several Mexican sponsors, had opted for Gutierrez alongside Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg.

“This is F1,” shrugged the Japanese, the son of a sushi restaurant owner, who arrived in F1 with Toyota support but no other backing and joined Sauber when the carmaker pulled out at the end of 2009.

“For Sauber it is my last race but for myself I think it is different. Everybody looks really worried but I don’t really worry at the moment, I try to work hard to get sponsors and find out what’s available for next year’s seat.”

Kamui Kobayashi Sauber celebrate after podium at Suzuka

Kobayashi, an extrovert overtaker, has huge popularity in Japan after finishing third for Sauber in his home race at Suzuka this season but he has suspected for some time that he would not be kept on at the team.

He said he was trying to harness some of the goodwill at home through a www.kamui-support.com website, with the url posted on his Twitter account to 93,000 followers, offering wristbands in exchange for a donation – for now the text is in Japanese only.

“Suzuka had more than 100 000 people at the race…over the three days we had 200 000,” said Kobayashi, easily Japan’s most successful grand prix driver by career points scored.

“I think we have a lot of potential to get some money from the fans as well. It has been just two days but it’s going to help my career for sure.”

Force India, Caterham and Marussia still have seats available but all have made it clear that they are looking for sponsorship money as part of the deal.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Chuck

    I’ve always thought it was a good idea for a driver or a team to create some means for fans to directly support them.

  • Butterfly

    This could work.