No sooner had newcomer Kamui Kobayashi dazzled the world of Formula One with his aggressive racing style and a points haul in only his second grand prix – he finds himself poised to return to his father’s sushi restaurant after Toyota pulled the plug on grand prix racing.
The Japanese driver was acting as a stand in for the injured Timo Glock at Toyota, but a staunch defence of his position against Jenson Button in the Brazilian Grand Prix, followed up by an impressive charge to fifth place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, looked set to consolidate his position on the grid next year with the Cologne-based outfit.
But in the wake of Toyota’s shock withdrawal from the sport this week, Kobayashi has been forced to look at alternative options for 2010, with the new Lotus team top on the list of his priorities.
“Obviously my seat [at Toyota] is gone,” he told the Times. “I was close to signing the contract for that season only, but with four new teams, and a couple of current ones with no confirmed drivers, there are options, but to the current teams, I am a “risk”, which isn’t very good for my morale really,”
“I do believe I’ll get a seat, if I had to choose a team, I’d choose Lotus. The name is enough really.
“McLaren are out of my league, Ferrari are the same, Renault I’m not sure of, Red Bull are secure, Brawn have Rosberg I think, Williams are done, I do not even know if Sauber will be here next year, Toro Rosso just want the same drivers. I think for me, my options are the four new teams really.”
Kobayashi confirmed that Toyota are offering him support to find a seat despite pulling out of Formula One.
“They’re working with myself and my agent to help me find a seat, they are doing the same for Kazuki Nakajima as well, Toyota explained to me that they couldn’t compete in the sport no longer but will help me in my career as much as possible.”