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Sauber: Kobayashi doesn’t need sponsors

16 November 2012

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."


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