Kamui Kobayashi has announced that he won’t be on the 2013 Formula 1 grid, after failing to secure a competitive seat for next season after he was dropped by Sauber after three seasons with the Swiss team.
Writing on his official website today, Kobayashi confirmed the bad news.
“Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and feel sorry for fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014,” he wrote.
The news of Kobayashi being dropped by Sauber triggered a wave of support in his homeland, with thousands of Japanese and worldwide fans donating money to try and help fund a drive.
His plight also earned support from 1980 World Champion Alan Jones, who described Kobayashi as the best F1 driver ever to have emerged from Japan. The no-nonsense Aussie urged corporate Japan to get behind the country’s star driver, who claimed a fine podium on home soil at Suzuka.
“Since the donation started, it has become quite big news in Japan,” Kobayashi added. “And because of your big support, it gave huge influences to some Japanese companies and I started receiving good [financial] support from them.
“I was in the position to bring a budget of 8 million Euro at least. If you could imagine the time I had, it was overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.
“I will save all the money for 2014, [and] start to look [at] the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014.”
He added that he had no interest in targeting a seat in another championship.
Unless another Japanese driver is signed for the 2013 season, it will be the first time since 2001 that the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ has no driver represented in the field.