Kamui Kobayashi says he is excited about the prospect of making his race debut in Japan as he looks to bounce back from his retirement in the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Sauber driver crashed out on the streets of Singapore and will now look to bounce back at Suzuka in what will be his first F1 race appearance.
Although he took part in Friday practice last year with Toyota, Kobayashi wasn't able to race despite Timo Glock being ruled out of action after a qualifying accident with the Japanese driver looking forward to getting the chance to race on the Suzuka GP circuit for the first time.
"After a good qualifying the outcome of the race in Singapore was, of course, disappointing for me,” he said. “I hope in Suzuka we have reason to be happy on both Saturday and on Sunday. We all think the circuit should suit our car pretty well.
"Returning to race in Japan as a Formula 1 driver means a lot to me. I had a taste of it last year when I stepped in for Timo Glock at Toyota for the Friday practice sessions. This was at short notice, but for this year's race a lot of supporters are going to be there. There has been a "Kamui Kobayashi" fans corner set up between turns two and three. It has more than 2000 seats and has been sold out for quite a while. I managed to buy tickets for friends and I hope they will be having fun."
Kobayashi added that expected plenty of support from the Japanese fans given Suzuka gives them a rare chance to see F1 in their own time zone as opposed to on European time.
“Anyone who has attended a Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix knows about the excitement and passion the people have for it,” he said. “But it is also true it is not easy for Japanese people to follow Formula 1 because the European races are broadcast live relatively late at night."