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Sauber: Kobayashi doesn’t need sponsorship

Monisha Kaltenborn says Kamui Kobayashi doesn't need sponsors to secure a Sauber drive
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists that Kamui Kobayashi is under no pressure to bring sponsorship in order to secure his future with the team.

The Japanese racer is under pressure within the team as it evaluates its options for the 2013 season, with Nico Hulkenberg the only driver so far signed to a race deal after the departure of Sergio Perez.

Test driver Esteban Gutierrez is tipped by many to secure the vacant drive thanks to the financial backing he can provide from Mexico, which would leave Kobayashi on the outside looking in – with Kobayashi himself admitting that he doesn't have any support to bring to the team.

However, Kaltenborn insisted that no decision has yet been taken over the second seat and said that Kobayashi wasn't under pressure to bring sponsorship to earn his drive.

"No,” she told the Press Association when asked if Kobayashi had to bring sponsorship. "We didn't even do that at the end of 2010 when, with regards to running the team, we were starting from scratch again.

"At that time we took him for his pure skills and he brought no sponsor along. We got nothing. So I don't think it's right to now suddenly make it an issue, and there is no pressure on him. It's about what he does on the track.

"We're not going to take the last two races and see if he is good or bad, whether it's a plus or a minus point. That's not fair to him. He's been with us three years now and we know him very well.

"When he came into Formula One we gave him the trust required - without any baggage - to show he is a very talented driver. From that perspective he should know the teams knows him well and trusts him."

Kobayashi has played a major part in Sauber taking the challenge to Mercedes in the race for fifth place in the constructors' championship this season, and Kaltenborn said it was vital that both drivers performed in the final two races to help the team in its battle as it also looks to keep Force India behind.

"You should never say you are in a comfortable position because you never know what can happen, and especially looking at Sao Paulo where you can be really surprised by the outcome," she said. "More importantly we have closed the gap a little to the front. We know it's still going to be very tough.

"But looking at what we feel are the characteristics for the next two races, we have the confidence to fight for this position."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Free Practice 1: Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
Free Practice 1: Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
23.08.2015 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37 leads Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-30.
23.08.2015 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 and Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
23.08.2015 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
23.08.2015 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-30. and Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 at drivers parade
23.08.2015 - Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT), CEO and Team Principal, Sauber F1 Team
23.08.2015 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
23.08.2015 - Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
22.08.2015 - Qualifying, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
22.08.2015 - Qualifying, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34

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tucker - Unregistered

November 16, 2012 6:40 PM

If it's only down to what is done on the race track, then Kamui should get the drive hands down! Gutierrez hasn't performed well in FP outings. If Kamui gets the drive I believe what she is saying, if Esteban gets it then she is clearly lying and it is about money. Make the right choice Monisha, this drive should be Kamui's.

JJ - Unregistered

November 16, 2012 8:44 PM

I really hope that KK stays at Sauber. He's only 8 points behind Perez and that guy has moved to McL. If KK loses his ride a Sauber because he hasn't "performed" and Guti gets the seat, we all know $ was the factor. Monisha - Sign KK on for 1 more year at least. IMHO, I would love to see KK fill the 2nd Ferrari seat in 2014.

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