Sauber technical director James Key has praised the professionalism of Kamui Kobayashi
the Japanese driver completed his final day of pre-season testing yesterday, despite the tragedy unfolding in his home country.
While Kobayashi was on track for the final day of pre-season running for the new C30 in Barcelona, his homeland was dealing with the after effects of a huge earthquake and tsunami, which is likely to have left thousands of people dead.
Kobayashi was sixth quickest as he worked on a qualifying and race programme, although he admitted that his thoughts were very much on issues elsewhere.
“I ran through the scheduled programme with a qualifying practice and almost a race distance today,” he said. “But now all my thoughts are with the people in Japan. My country has suffered an enormous catastrophe. The news is depressing and I'm very sad. I can't really put in words what I feel.”
The fact that Kobayashi was able to run through his programme despite the events unfolding elsewhere drew praise from Key, who said the team would investigate a problem that had forced Kobayashi to end his running slightly earlier than planned.
“Today we reached the end of winter testing and are now looking forward to the season's opening race in Melbourne,” he said. “I'd like to thank Kamui for the professionalism he has shown today.
“Today we ran a similar programme to yesterday. The morning was very productive with the track conditions for the qualifying practice quite cold and difficult compared to yesterday. In the afternoon we did a race simulation, first using old tyres and then a new set at the end. Unfortunately we suffered a drive shaft problem which stopped us some laps early. The problem still has to be investigated.”