Kamui Kobayashi is the first F1 driver to announce he has no fears about travelling to his native country for October’s Japanese grand prix.
Bernie Ecclestone and Masuru Unno, a spokesman for the Suzuka circuit, said at the Nurburgring that despite some MotoGP riders planning to boycott the Motegi race, Suzuka – hundreds of kilometres further from the Fukushima nuclear plant – is “completely safe”.
Sauber driver Kobayashi insists he is not worried. “I went there and I am fine,” he said. “Nobody is worried in Japan. Going to Suzuka will show support for the people. I expect people to come from everywhere to Suzuka,” he is quoted by Al Jazeera.
F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who announced he is personally buying 3,000 tickets to the race to give away, said he is confident no one in F1 will follow the MotoGP example and announce they fear travelling to Japan.
“I do not know why motorcycle riders are reacting like they are,” he is quoted as saying by the journalist Agnes Carlier. “Here in F1, no one thinks that there is a problem.”