Kamui Kobayashi insists that he can't wait to return to Suzuka next weekend for his home round of the F1 season in Japan.
The Sauber driver scored points last year in what was his maiden F1 race on home soil and heads into the event this time around looking to break back into the top ten after a run of form that has seen him score in only one of the last seven races.
Prior to that, Kobayashi had finished inside the top ten in each of the first seven races, although he was later excluded from the result of the season-opener in Australia for a rear-wing infringement.
“It is always very exciting going back to Japan to race, but when I went back last year it had been a long time since I had raced there and it felt especially good to be there,” he said. “There were so many fans around and that in itself was very impressive. For me this year will only be the third time I have ever raced at the Suzuka circuit. Last year was my first time in a Formula One car, and before that I just did one Formula Toyota
race in 2003 when I was 17-years old. Because of this I don't know it that well, and certainly most of the other drivers know it better than I do.
“Nevertheless Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits, and I also think one of the best tracks as well. Racing there is exciting and cool. I think every driver likes it. It is really enjoyable to drive on if you get in the right rhythm. The S Curves - two, three, four, five and six - are my favourites. This is my home country and so many fans are waiting, so I really think it is great to do. I believe Japan is very important for Formula One and I think we can put on a good show for the sport, which is a good thing for the Japanese fans. I think my parents may be coming to see me race there as they came last year.”
For the Japanese race, Sauber plans a series of upgrades onto its car as it looks to cement seventh in the championship standings.
“We will bring a wide ranging aero package for the car, which includes a completely new front wing, new rear wings, new turning vanes and side pod deflectors, new brake ducts and modifications to the floor,” technical chief James Key said. “This was always planned for Suzuka and, if it all works well, it should give us a reasonable step forward. Obviously we want to bounce back from some recent bad luck. Going into the final quarter of the season there will be tracks which should suit our car better. It would definitely be great to get a positive result for all our supporters in Japan in what has been a very challenging year for the people there.”