F1 »

Kobayashi eyes Lotus following Toyota withdrawal

Kamui Kobayashi has now turned his attentions towards securing a drive with newcomer Lotus in F1 2010, after the Brazil and Abu Dhabi star's expected deal with Toyota was scuppered by the Japanese manufacturer's withdrawal this week
Kamui Kobayashi – undoubtedly one of the stars and biggest surprises of the final two races of the F1 2009 World Championship campaign – has revealed that he would be interested in joining newcomer Lotus next year, after an anticipated deal with Toyota came to nought when the Japanese manufacturer announced its immediate withdrawal earlier this week.

Kobayashi impressed on his F1 debut in the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos last month, lining up eleventh on the grid and going on to race feistily inside the top six, determinedly fending off the attentions of world champion-in-waiting Jenson Button for lap after lap in São Paulo, and only failing to make the points following a brush with compatriot Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams that necessitated an extra pit-stop for repairs.

Still, the reigning GP2 Asia Series Champion more than made up for that fleeting disappointment with a stunning performance a fortnight later in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale, coping admirably with a heavy single-stop fuel load to rise as high as third from eleventh on the grid, again getting the better of Button in a brief but energetic scrap and going on to beat infinitely more experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli to the chequered flag to score the first points of his top flight career in sixth.

If Toyota Motorsport President John Howett admitted afterwards that he had been unsure about Kobayashi's ultimate potential following a lacklustre main campaign in GP2 this year, the Englishman was forced to acknowledge that on the basis of Brazil and Abu Dhabi, he would find it difficult not to sign the 23-year-old up to a race seat in 2010.

The driver himself had joked that with 'no budget' behind him, he would have little option other than to return to working in his father's sushi restaurant in Japan should he prove unable to secure a drive [see separate story – click here] – but few thought he would have any great trouble in convincing Toyota to take him on. And then the plug was pulled.

“Obviously, my place at Toyota is lost,” Kobayashi told French media. “I was close to signing a contract for 2010, but there are four new teams and still options. If I could choose a team, I would choose Lotus.”

Toyota has vowed to help both Kobayashi and Williams refugee Nakajima find alternative employment for 2010, whilst the company has 'already discussed and rejected' the possibility of copying fellow car-makers Honda and BMW in selling on its Cologne-based outfit to enable the team to continue to compete at the highest level. The former was taken over by new world champions Brawn GP and the latter was purchased by partner Sauber in tandem with the mysterious Qadbak consortium, which now looks likely to assume what would have been Toyota's place on starting grid next season.

“Maybe these ideas can be re-opened,” Howett told British newspaper The Times, “but at the moment, it would appear not.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Toyota TF108 Launch, Cologne, 10th January, 2008
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - Paddock
02.10.2014 - TV Press conference
02.10.2014 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
02.10.2014 - Atmosphere
02.10.2014 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - TV Press conference
02.10.2014 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
02.10.2014 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
02.10.2014 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
02.10.2014 - Fans
02.10.2014 - Press conference, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


BRITFAN

November 06, 2009 9:09 AM

Nothing definitive then. Just Kobya stating a preference for lotus. It would be great if he could get a seat for next year. He certainly shows potential. Lets hope someone is listerning to him.



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.