Kamui Kobayashi admits that his F1 future with Sauber remains unclear despite his fine podium finish on home soil last weekend.
The Japanese racer saw off the challenge of Jenson Button to take third at Suzuka, securing his maiden podium in the process and the fourth for his team this year.
Despite that, Kobayashi's future with the team remains unclear, with the Swiss outfit having insisted it is in no rush to decide who will be at the wheel for 2013.
Speaking in Korea ahead of this weekend's race, Kobayashi admitted that a lack of backing from sponsors could work against him for 2013 and said it was sad that drivers were being forced to bring extensive backing to earn their slots on the grid.
"Of course a sponsor could help for next year, but at the moment I have no sponsors to be here," he was quoted by ESPNF1
. "It's very strange to need to find a sponsor to drive for another team or [to drive] here. At this moment of course the money is very important but basically I really want to be one of the top drivers with a good team. I want to be in Formula One and that's what I was dreaming of when I was young.
"Drivers should be thinking about the car and what to do with the car as that's their job, but now it's complicated by a lot of sponsoring and what they can bring. That is the way a driver has to be. I will try to stay in Formula One next year and show for the rest of the season what I can do in Formula One."
Kobayashi added that it had become difficult to secure backing from Japan after the departure of both Toyota and Honda from the sport, and said it was replaced by a driver with budget, it would be something he couldn't control.
"If a Japanese manufacturer came back in to the sport that would be a great thing, but if a Japanese car manufacturer is not in Formula One it's difficult,” he said. “Car manufacturers are some of the biggest companies, so when Toyota was in F1, Panasonic was supporting them but then they left with Toyota.
"If it [losing his seat to a pay driver] happens like that we have to say 'this is Formula One'."