22 March 2014
Kobayashi looking for laps after early F1 return exit
Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi is hoping for a better weekend all round as the F1 schedule heads for Malaysia next weekend.
Kamui Kobayashi has yet to complete a racing lap following his return to F1, but aims to put that right as the Caterham team touches down for its 'home' race in Malaysia.
The mercurial Japanese driver was the victim of turn one brake failure in Australia, ending his race – and that of Williams' Felipe Massa - in the waiting gravel trap, but he felt that the team had made enough progress in its limited practice time to suggest that the new CT05 has potential.
In contrast to Melbourne, Sepang will present a much tougher test for the cars, particularly with the heat and humidity that has become a factor at round two over the years. After a troubled pre-season, the start of the weekend in Melbourne was not what Caterham wanted, with a variety of 'small but destructive' problems sidelining both cars during the three practice sessions. After a much more positive qualifying, the team was hopeful of a finish in the race but ultimately saw both cars sidelined before the chequered flag.
While rookie team-mate Marcus Ericsson went deep into the 57-lap distance, however, Kobayashi was left to rue his early exit.
“The way we bounced back in qualifying in Melbourne showed a little bit of what we can do but, without any real laps in FP1 or FP2, we only had a very small chance to fight,” he reflected, “With a proper Friday and Saturday programme, we can give ourselves the opportunity to show the true pace of the car, and prepare much more for the race.
“Obviously, I'd like to also make sure I don't have the same brake problems that caused the accident in turn one in Australia – without that, I think we'd have had a strong race, so we'll work as hard as we can to give ourselves the chance to really perform.”
The F1 veteran is also looking forward to returning to Sepang, particularly as his new team calls Malaysia home.
“The second race of the year is our team's first home race of the year, so it's going to be a good week!” he smiled, “I've obviously raced there a few times before, and finished in the points in 2011, and this year it would be great if we were able to fight for a point, but we'll have to make sure we have a better Friday than we did in Australia if we're going to have a stronger weekend at Sepang.
“Off track we're going to be busy, especially on Tuesday night when I'm at a Renault event at Sepang and on Wednesday when we have a very packed schedule meeting sponsors and fans. We're also going to see AirAsia's head office on Wednesday afternoon and meet their staff, so it'll be good to see one of [team owner] Tony [Fernandes'] other teams in action!”
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