With Romain Grosjean confirmed at Lotus earlier today Kamui Kobayashi has now conceded that he won’t have an F1 race seat for next season – but he insists that he will return in 2014.
The Japanese driver has been ousted from Sauber, and has been the focus of a campaign to raise funds from fans. While that on its own was never going to get him a seat it did catch the attention of some commercial sponsors in his home country.
“Unfortunately the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with [a] competitive F1 team for 2013,” said Kobayashi on his website today. “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.”
Kobayashi said that the high-profile campaign had led to serious interest from potential sponsors in Japan.
“Thank you for the big support. I am very appreciated that many of you have donated and trying to make donation. I must mention this that since the donation started, it has become quite big news in Japan. And because of your big support, it gave huge influences to some of Japanese companies and I started receiving good support from them.
“And 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 would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014.”
Regarding his short term future, he said: “I have no interests to race any other categories. I will make an announcement as soon as I make a decision for 2013. So, please wait and really looking forward your support for coming year, too.”