Kamui Kobayashi admits he is surprised he needs to bring sponsorship to secure a Formula 1 drive for the 2013 season.
The Sauber driver’s future remains uncertain despite having secured his first podium in the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend. Several drivers– including Jaime Alguersuari, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez – have been linked to the team in recent weeks although the Swiss squad has made it clear it is in no hurry to finalize its line-up.
Kobayashi says he is aware that having financial backing would be a big help, but he is saddened by the situation.
"I think a sponsor could help myself to be here next year, but at the moment I had no sponsors to be here," Kobayashi told reporters in Korea. "It’s a very strange feeling for me to find a sponsor to drive for another team or here.
"At this moment of course the money is very important, but I really want to be like a top driver without a sponsor, with a good team. This is what I was dreaming about when I was younger.
"To bring a sponsor is maybe very important for the future. We are missing how a driver really has to be, thinking about the car. This is part of the driver’s job. But now it looks like it’s more about sponsorship. It’s not a way a driver has to be. So I’m a little bit surprised, but I’ll try to stay in Formula 1 next year and try to show what I can do."
The Japanese driver insisted he had never had any sponsors help him secure a drive, and that he was not looking for one at the moment.
"If there’s no Japanese car manufacturer looking to enter Formula 1 then it’s difficult, because the car manufacturers are the biggest companies in Japan," he said.
When asked about the chance of losing his seat to a driver with less talent but bigger backing, he said: "Then it’s destiny, no?"
Info: Racer.com, Image: Sauber F1 Team