Archive | January, 2013

Time to say goodbye: Kamui Kobayashi

3 Jan

I take it he was just another Japanese driver with a lack of talent who only got there because of money?

You’d be wrong, Kamui has widely be regarded as the best ever Japanese driver in Formula 1 and surprisingly for this current era didn’t come with much money behind him at all.

So how did his F1 career start?

After winning the 2008/09 GP2 AirAsia series Kamui was promoted into the Toyota F1 from the test driver role (a role he’d already held for 2 seasons) for the final two races of the 2009 season to replace Timo Glock who had suffered a broken leg in qualifying for the Japanese GP.

It was a blitzing start to an F1 career, Kobayashi made his debut at the Brazilian GP and held off that seasons drivers champion Jenson Button for many laps on his way to 9th place (in 2009 there were only points for finishing 1-8), many felt it was a one off but he continued the impressive performances in Abu Dhabi finishing 6th to pick up 3 points.

So it was a very impressive start, could he continue the performances in his second season?

Not only did he continue them he got better, despite failing to finish the first four races Kobayashi claimed the position of being the best driver at overtaking on the grid making moves spectators considered impossible, his 2 most famous being his final lap of the European GP and his move at the hairpin at his home Japanese GP.

How was his overtaking affected by the introduction of DRS?

Since DRS appeared it has been a rarity to see Kamui pull off a phenomenal overtaking manoeuvre, but what he lost in finesse he gained in consistent scoring, in 2011 he was regularly picking up points, including a outstanding performance in Monaco where by finding himself in the right place at the right time he finished 5th, and in 2012 he got better, he made the top 3 in qualifying thrice including a sublime front row in Belgium (sadly he was taken out at the start in the trail of destruction made by Grosjean) and finished in the top 6 on five occasions including getting his debut podium at his home Japanese GP.

So if he’s already good and appears to only be getting better why has he been dropped?

Money. Sadly Kamui has never come with much sponsorship backing and although this should be classed as a remarkable achievement to get hear without it it means that teams just won’t consider signing him.

Do you think he’ll ever be back?

I hope so. In my opinion he’s a driver who maybe had the potential to be a race winner and when he was in form he took his car far and beyond where it should have been.