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Kobayashi appeals to the fans for help

NEWS STORY
24/11/2012

Mat Coch writes:

Kamui Kobayashi, Japan's only Formula One driver, is out of the job. His Sauber team yesterday confirmed Esteban Gutierrez would replace him for 2013, while in October it was announced Nico Hulkenberg would switch from Force India to the Swiss outfit for next season.

The 26-year-old was one of the sports hottest prospects but has been overshadowed by the performance of McLaren bound teammate Sergio Perez for much of the last two seasons.

Kobayashi's future now seems to rely on his ability to find enough money as available drives become increasingly scarce. With a number of drivers waiting in the wings, and able to offer any prospective employer a sizeable dowry, Kobayashi's future is uncertain to say the least.

"I think (there are) still some seats that are available, so we (will) try to get a seat," Kobayashi said in Brazil. "If we can find some sponsors I think it is easier."

There is little doubt over the 59-race veteran's ability; a third place at his home race in Japan a welcome (if belated) endorsement of his potential, while his ability to overtake is second to none.

To help keep himself in Formula One next season Kobayashi has set up a website, www.kamui-support.com, currently in Japanese only, in an attempt to raise the money he needs to find a seat. There are fears however, it may be a case of too little too late.

"Suzuka had more than 100,000 people at the race," Kobayashi reasoned. "Over the three days we had 200,000.

"I think we have a lot of potential to get some money from the fans as well," he added. "It has been just two days but it's going to help my career for sure."

Kobayashi's best hopes for a seat would appear to be either Caterham, which is yet to confirm whether it will retain Heikki Kovalainen. Williams has not confirmed either of its drivers for 2013, though it is expected Pastor Maldonado will be joined by Valtteri Bottas, with Max Chilton believed to be a shoe-in at Marussia alongside Timo Glock.

There is a small opportunity for a berth at Force India given the Silverstone based squad has not confirmed either of its drivers, though it is widely believed Paul di Resta will remain with Adrian Sutil or Jules Bianchi in the other car.

Check out who goes where in 2013, here.

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