Kamui Kobayashi insists he is ready for the challenge of making his F1 race debut at Interlagos after receiving an unexpected call-up to the Toyota team for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Kobayashi will take the place of Timo Glock for the race after it was discovered that the German driver had suffered a cracked vertebra in his accident in Japan.
While the young Japanese driver spent time at the wheel of the TF109 at his home event after standing in for Glock during Friday practice, Brazil will mark his first race outing in the sport and Kobayashi insisted he was ready to take on the challenge.
"This is an incredible opportunity for me to make my Grand Prix debut but of course it is a pity for Timo as I know how much he was looking forward to getting back to racing,” he said. “Fortunately for me I had some time in the car on Friday in Suzuka and, even though that was in the wet, it will be very helpful for me this weekend.
“I have never driven at Interlagos before but I know the lay-out from computer games and television so I don't think it will take too long to learn. It's going to be a tough weekend but I feel ready for the challenge and I know the team is supporting me 100 per cent.”
With the announcement that he will drive in brazil coming as something of a surprise, Kobayashi added that he wasn't setting himself any targets for the weekend and was keen to simply enjoy a trouble-free F1 debut.
“A few days ago I wasn't even expecting to be racing this weekend so it's impossible to set any targets,” he said. “I just want to do myself proud and complete the race without any problems; anything after that is a bonus."
Senior general chassis manager Pascal Vasselon said he was confident that Kobayashi will perform on his race debut, and said the focus in the early part of the weekend would be on working with the Japanese driver to get him up to speed.
"We saw already in Suzuka that Kamui is a very capable driver so we are confident he can meet this challenge, but of course we will be giving him additional support this weekend considering it will be his Grand Prix debut," he said. "He is very familiar with a Formula 1 car from all the testing he has done with us, where he has shown speed and consistency. However this weekend we will pay special attention to areas which are not his priority in testing; race pit stops, race starts and low-fuel qualifying for example.
"We will take full advantage of the practice sessions to familiarise him with every aspect of a Grand Prix weekend and we are sure he'll do a good job."