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F1 finds a new hero in Kobayashi
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F1 finds a new hero in Kobayashi
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Nov 2009   |  10:40 pm GMT  |  91 comments

For the second race in a row, Kamui Kobayashi has set the place alight with some bold driving and given the lie to the theory that F1 is too tough for rookie drivers. He finished sixth today, ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli.

Kob2
Starting his second Grand Prix in 12th place, he was the second best placed of the cars on a one-stop strategy today, after Kimi Raikkonen, but he finished well ahead of the Ferrari driver. His strategy brought him into contact with Jenson Button again. The pair had had a battle in Brazil, after which Button said Kobayashi was ‘crazy’.

Today they came into contact just after Button’s first stop on lap 17. At this point Kobayashi had another 13 laps to go until his stop, so the difference in fuel weight between the two cars was 12 laps, worth about a second per lap. Kobayashi had a go and Button outbraked himself trying to hold him off.

“The first big stop is turn eight and when you have got that much fuel on board it is always very difficult to judge the braking point,” said Button. “I slightly outbraked myself and locked the rears and the fronts and ran a bit wide and he got past. In reality it didn’t make a difference to my race as he was quicker than me at that point.”

Button was wary of Kobayashi. He raced him, but was forced into a mistake, which reflected well on Kobayashi. It also showed, arguably, that Button still wasn’t able to shake off the mentality of protecting a championship lead, rather than going for it, even though the championship was over. Kobayashi had nothing to lose and so was able to fight his ground.

At that stage both men had one more pit stop to make. Button was being told by his race engineer Andrew Shovlin that Kobayashi was the guy he was racing against. By the time the Japanese made his stop on lap 30 he was seven seconds ahead of Button. At this point he switched to the soft tyre. He lost 17 seconds to Button over the next 12 laps, mainly because it took him a few laps to settle into a rhythm on the soft tyre. Button pushed very hard in this phase and when Button made his second stop on lap 42 he emerged 10 seconds ahead of Kobayashi.

Tonight Toyota boss John Howett pretty much implied that Kobayashi had done enough in his two races to secure the seat for next season – provided that the Toyota main board votes to stay in the sport at its crunch meeting on November 15th.

“It looks like it,” he said “We will have to give really serious consideration, as he has really shown very good strong results.

“I am very impressed. We were very happy again. What we like is his real fighting spirit. He is not intimidated by anybody. It’s very positive.”

Kob1
I had a chat with Kobayashi on Friday and as he used his hands to illustrate how he had positioned his car relative to Button’s in Brazil, I noticed that he has a tattoo on his right wrist which he covers up with a leather bracelet. It is hard to see exactly what the tattoo says, but the first two characters are “F1″. On his other wrist is the blingiest Breitling watch I have ever seen.

Kobayashi has made a very positive impression; he’s a fighter, he’s clearly quick and if he can find consistency in qualifying and a bit more pace at the beginning of a stint after a pit stop, he might well turn out to be a real diamond.

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91 Comments
  1. If Kobayashi can come in and in his second ever F1 race score points then why has Fisi struggled in the Ferrari? I think this young man has proved that talent will always shine through – I for one hope to see him next season.!

    ps Congratulations to your mate Dave Freeman

    1. Patrickl says:

      Come to think of it, Raikkonen and Massa struggled with the car for the first races too. Who knows if they were having trouble adjusting to the KERS effect on braking too?

  2. Trent says:

    I don’t agree with Button at all about the fight in Brazil – Kobayashi was fair, he just made Button work extremely hard to make the pass. I suspect it was an issue of Button, fighting for the championship, being unhappy about having to race an upstart rookie who should be a pushover but most definitely wasn’t.

    Another great race for Kamui in Abu Dhabi – an exciting driver indeed!

    1. Maria says:

      Exactly! and there are some in here who would go to any extent to cover for JB.

      1. Carl Craven says:

        But there are plenty plenty more quick to pick fault in anything Button says or does and to continually criticise him as an undeserving WDC, whatever that is.

      2. Martin P says:

        I’m a bit confused by this, are we talking about when Jenson called him “crazy”?

        When I saw him say it on the beeb I took it to be said with a touch of admiration and with good humour.

        It certainly didn’t come across as a criticism.

  3. Werewolf says:

    At a time when we were all worrying about the the apparent lack of an obvious next generation (Hulkenberg, perhaps, excepted) out of virtually nowhere comes a warrior.

    For some reason, those Japanese drivers that are initially impressive never seem to improve or develop with experience but remain somehow rather raw. It would be great to see Kobayashi take his obvious talent for F1 forward.

    Given Toyota already has its enthusiasm for Trulli under control, I would imagine Kobayashi’s arrival should see him sitting patiently outside Gascoigne’s office at Lotus very shortly.

    1. Patrickl says:

      Indeed, Nakajima got a 6th place in his first Grand Prix. We all know how that situation progressed.

      1. Guilherme says:

        Nakajima finished his first Grand Prix (Brazil 2007) in 10th, not in 6th…

        It was the 2008 Australian GP which he finished 6th, which is quite obvious, since only six cars finished the race.

  4. Dave says:

    I have to say the guy’s really impressed me. In many ways his driving style and refusal to be intimidated reminds me of Hamilton in his first races, battling with new teammate alonso.

  5. Rachid says:

    Kobayashi for president! :) I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of probably all F1 fans when I say that we like to see more guys like Kobayashi on the grid. F1 has an obligation to offer him a drive in the series, really, whichever team takes him on.

    James, it appears your RSS feed has not been updated since your post on Alonso a couple of days ago. Hope you can have that fixed soon. :)

  6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Not impressed with Button vs Webber. He had the chance to take away some of his doubters’ question marks regarding his skill.

    Well done to Webber, very well defended. Hamilton would have made mincemeat of this situation.

    No wonder JB is unlikely to want to go up against LH next season at McLaren. I think that Nico is going to give him a very tough time.

    1. moot says:

      Webber’s defensive work was brilliant, as you said. But I fail to see how Lewis could have so easily done what Button couldn’t?? Jenson gave us some brave racing, as he’s done all season, but in the end Webber was positioned perfectly enough to stop surely anybody getting past.

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Kobayashi did it to Button, so Button could have done it to Webber….and if Button can do it, Hamilton can do it 2x better

      2. Steve Mc says:

        Absolutely – He would have breezed passed him 800m beforehand by pressing his KERS button on the main straight.

        …Or he could have binned it unnecessarily, much in the same way that he did at Monza on the last lap.

        I think this is also a bit unnecessary – Button really has proven that he is a good overtaker, Hamilton has proven that he is a good racer, Kobayashi has proven (so far, at least) that he has the spirit of the Samurai, Webber has proven that he is incredibly tricky to pass.

        All these things are true, and not one of them proves that Hamilton would have done a better job in that situation if you took away his magic button.

        Sorry, but I think your assessment is a bit unfounded and unnecessarily harsh, Mike.

        It’s got everyone talking though, and it’s a good way to start the working day (just don’t tell my boss – he thinks I’m slaving away behind a hot laptop!).

    2. Neil Smith says:

      Are you nuts? That was some great driving by both drivers.

    3. ta2 says:

      Reminded me of Germany 2008. Except Hamilton actually made it past Massa and Piquet. Button clearly had the faster car, closing almost a second a lap to catch up with Webber.

    4. Stuart Kent says:

      Webber has a reputation for being very difficult to pass. Button only followed with a real chance for 1-2 laps.

    5. Amritraj says:

      I respectfully disagree. Jenson is perhaps the best at making firm, clean overtakes in F1 today. His skill is sublime. In a year where overtaking has been rare, Jenson has been able to pull-off some fanatastic moves consistently. Maybe years of training (in the midfield) of the F1 grid has taught him to be against someone during anypoint of a race and thus has sharpened his overtaking skills. And Webber is one of the worst guys to overtake, he never leaves any racing room. Kimi Raikkonen, another guy who is great at overtaking, may vouch for this.

      1. Stevie P says:

        I really thought Jenson had got him, after both straights and the fiddley chicane (where Sutil took the marker post for a toss-the-caber roll)… Jenson was on the inside (which he hadn’t done on the two straights) but alas no, Webber held out… but it was nice to see, after a very processional race.

        Whoever ends up in the 2nd McLaren seat will struggle against Hamilton; he’s done a Schumi and got the team on his side… ok, on top of that he’s a real racer. Personally I see Kimi as the only person who’d 1, not care about Hamilton’s ability and 2, have some internal support from his previous time there.

        As for Kobayashi… well he’s looked quite racey too; I think Toyota will keep him on for 2010 for sure and then it’s up to him to be consistent and beat his team-mate (whoever that might be… Heikki, perhaps?).

        And why don’t Brawn use the options more often? That’s the umpteenth time JB’s been “struggling” (relatively) on the prime; he switches to the options and he flies (Valencia springs particularly to mind!). Their car has been kind to it’s tyres all season, thus the softer ones should have been used more.

    6. Jameson says:

      The Button vs Webber battle during the last few laps of the race was the best part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was a great piece of defense on Webber’s part on the straight by taking away the slipstream and the inside line from Button at just the right time before the turn eight–that’s what prevented Button from overtaking through turn nine. It was a clean fight for both of the seasoned drivers.

      I loved the confidence that Kobayashi showed going wheel to wheel with Button through several turns. That was great work by Kobayashi–he definitely deserves a drive with Toyota next season. I’m really impressed by his driving, as he’s scored three points in two races vs Nakajima rolling a doughnut for the whole season.

  7. knoxploration says:

    I really don’t see how Jenson’s mentality has anything to do with it, to be honest. Kobayashi pressured Button into making a mistake – and that could just as easily have happened if they were racing for their first point of the season.

    Once the mistake was made, what exactly was Jenson supposed to do to “go for it” enough to satisfy you? Drive into him? His point’s valid – he wasn’t *really* racing Kobayashi for position, and once Kamui was past there was no point fighting to repass him. That would merely have slowed both drivers down as Kobayashi drove defensively, and in turn would have reduced Jenson’s own chances of landing the podium.

    I agree with quite a lot of your thoughts James, but not this one. Jenson put in a heck of a drive today – or would you have us believe his last-lap battle with Webber also indicated that he can’t shake off the memory of fighting to retain the championship?

    Great drives also by Kobayashi, Webber, and Vettel – a future champion if ever I’ve seen one.

    1. Michael C says:

      I agree with this lone comment (so far) – Kobayashi has nothing to lose and everything to gain by driving aggressively – we have seen enough times this season that if you get the ‘I am coming through at any cost’ driver versus the ‘oh no you arent’ then one or both end up in the wall – not what Ross Brawn wanted to see – although he might have put up with it in the specific ‘last race championship won’ circumstances – call me an old man but the Webber Button duel demonstrated how experience and craft shines through – but then perhaps thats because they are (relatively) old too!!

    2. williams4ever says:

      @ Knox – Well said mate. With all my respect to James and his Insights, I should say end of the day the national colors jaundice some vision in everyone, James is not a exception as well.

      Same goes for Martin Brundle/Ant Davidson, while their insights on F1 and racing in general are great, did anybody remember their commentary when Kobayashi was defending his ‘rightful’ position in Brazil. They expected the the Japanese driver to simply bow down to the much more experienced driver on the grid.

      Compare that with Applauds these pundits were giving to Hamilton when he drove with No prisoner held style in his first few races.

      1. Patrickl says:

        It’s simply not done for a backmarker to almost run a championship contender off in what was shaping up to be the deciding race.

      2. Williams4Ever says:

        Back marker :-? Excuse me, KK was in the position and Button wanted to win that position, KK was well within the rules to defend his rightfully acquired track poistion.

        Is yours a case of national color jaundising vision as well :-?

  8. Michael Grievson says:

    I’d love to see a Japanese driver do well. Fingers crossed. He’s shown the rookies how it’s done. Lets hope he has a drive

    1. jose says:

      All the fans should agree with you. His performance is of such importance, that can make the difference, between toyota leaving or staying in f1. Just imagine if he is the real thing, and he is able to win races with them. It would put the brand in front of honda, in the japanese market, for many years to come.
      Just this possibility, could make the japanese to keep betting on the sport.

  9. Ginger says:

    Look like he might become a driver that we all warm to. Young, fast, agressive.

    Good luck to him.

  10. Jinder says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Kobayashi is a breath of fresh air-quick, bold, charismatic and proof once and for all that the excuses made for the disappointing showings from this season’s other draft-in rookies (Alguersuari and Grosjean) were just that-excuses.

    I am still pinching myself that the guy who turned in two P16 placings in the ’08 and ’09 GP2 series has managed to be so quick and compelling an F1 driver. If Toyota don’t hand him a full-time seat for 2010, I hope Kamui finds a drive elsewhere. He’s rapidly becoming a firm favourite in my house.

    1. jose says:

      it is very difficult to see the real quality of young drivers in the small formulas. You have to understand that the equipment might not be the best, and also consider that the personal ( mechanics, engineers) are in a learning process. Only in some cases like senna, hamilton, it is pretty clear. I remember schumacher being thought to be more or less as good as frenzten, and when he got to f1, everybody could see that was far better.

  11. Fergus Duncan says:

    ‘crazy’ = a real threat . . . good for the new guy, the only thing that matters is winning, all the talk of ‘respect’ just shows all that is wrong . . . respect the fastest guy, end . . .

  12. moot says:

    confused about Kobayashi. performed disappointingly in 2 GP2 seasons (although managed to win his second GP2 Asia campaign with a less than impressive grid of names) and now 2 impressive outings in F1. we’ll see how he does next year, but looking at Grosjean’s previous success and lack of it in F1 we must conclude it is a funny sport…

  13. F1 Outsider says:

    McLaren should snatch him up right away!!!!

    Very cool and enjoyable it has been to see him these last two races. Today especially my wife and I were cheering and high-fiving when he made the pass on Button, which as beautiful.
    It’s always good to see a rookie ruffle some feathers.

    From little that I’ve read about him it seems he’s a bit of a playboy and likes to party… So maybe he can be a good replacement for Kimi if he “chooses” to go rallying.

  14. Nick says:

    Two impressive drives from Kamui in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.. amazing what a rockie can make a car do…

    I would not be surprised to see Kaz and Kamui at Toyota next year… both with points scored only based pay packets.

  15. Ace Best says:

    I really like the way Kobayashi drives..he’s really entertaining and he fought with the world champion twice.the funny thing is when he was interviewed by F1.com after Interlagos,he said he was fighting hard with Button but didn’t want to cause too much trouble for Button since he (Button) was fighting for the championship.

    For me,it indicates that Kobayashi has some respect for his fellow drivers off the track,but would not back down to anyone on the track.

  16. Munaf-montreal says:

    Crazy! But a breath of fresh air! Kamui would light up next year and rmove that sense of dolour from Toyota. Here’s hoping to see Taku Sato in a race seat as well

  17. Frenchie says:

    Listening to him in the BBC Chequered Flag podcast GP review, he sounds on fire. I’m also glad to report his level of English is much better than the last crop of Japanese driver.

    I very much liked the suuport the Japanese gave Sato and Super Aguri despite being nowhere near the front in Fuji 07. It’s be about time they gete rewarded with a GP winner sometime soon.

    Isn’t it fantastic to have another on the grid that is not scared of overtaking others? He joins Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel and ‘quick Nick’ Heidfeld.

    That said, I also remember Frankl Williams being impressed by Kazuki “World Champion material” Nakajima. I don’t think he’ll be on the grid next year.

  18. Kakashi says:

    I hope Kobayashi finds a place on the grid for the next season as I believe this is a champion in the making. Very gutsy drive I must say. We need more drivers like this on the grid to make it more exciting. Fearless, willing to take risks, racers we need in F1

  19. Amritraj says:

    On the topic of Toyota staying in F1, I think it would be a wise decision for the Board of Toyota to pull-ou or heavily re-structure the F1 team as it is a money-burning furnace. The F1 team perennially seems to be under-achieving, considering they are one of the most well-funded teams in the paddock.

    Innumerable departments, figure-head team principal, bureaucrats rather than real racers at the helm of the ship are few of the reasons why they have never achieved success in a sport as competitive as F1.

    You need to be a lean operation to succeed in F1 which clearly Toyota isn’t.

    1. monktonnik says:

      You never know, but Kobayashi could turn out to be a very good driver, and a Japanese superstar may be enough to keep Toyota in the game.

      I agree that they need to donwsize though.

    2. shaun says:

      Totally agree Amritraj. I read an article about Mike Gascoyne the other day and reading between the lines I think he echoed your sentiments. You need structure and you need funding but you also need agility.
      Ironically Japanese management techniques have introduced many concepts to the west that suggest the idea of taking a hunch and the power of intuition yet Toyota seem too set on science and rigid processes.
      Take a hunch, put Koby in the car next year!

    3. gary says:

      Amritraj
      mate where do you get this info please let me know what the budjets for all teams in f1 were .I have heard this before and have found it to be a bit misleading particularly in the past few years. Im sure ferrari Mclaren red bull would not be that dissimalar in budget and none of these one the constructors this year. I agree they use a different structure to most other teams (from what Ive heard) As Far as kumi goes I agree he seems pretty quick and reasnobly consistent. As for the other rookies perhaps it could be that the toyota is quite a good car to drive aswell as being fast . Alonso has now sta ted the renault is a dog just a different angle

  20. Benno says:

    +1 go Kobayashi! Really good for F1 in Japan and Asia in general.

    The world champ thinks your mental and crazy – I think your an extremely entertaining racer. Get yourself a fast car next year and mix it up with with Lewis!

  21. Smellyden says:

    Wow I hope Toyota do stay in F1, Kobayashi looks like a real find.

    This just makes 2010 even better, I am not sure I can remeber a time when a season could be as comeptitive, with so many good drivers around at the moment. Hopefully we have started a golden age in F1.

  22. Renn Sport says:

    Kobayashi and Sato would make a great Toyota pairing!

    Its great to see a driver so unfased by the people around him in F1. Awesome!

    He’s come in and shown the world that even with limited track time he is a force already.

    James you should find out what that tattoo says!

  23. Alric Kitson says:

    I’m glad Kobayashi has been mentioned on here, he’s the kind of driver that F1 really needs. A fighter who isn’t scared to go wheel to wheel with anyone and yet at the same time not loose his bottle. I hope he gets the drive he deserves next year as he’s made the last two races that much more exciting. I found myself cheering him on as my new favourite driver!!

  24. Paul Mc says:

    Refreshing to see someone willing to fight to overtake. Button should have nailed Webber in that last lap I get the feeling if that was Koby he would have done it.

    One to watch next season!

  25. Luke Robbins says:

    Definitely reading too much into the JB Kob incident.

    JB had cold brakes, tyres, heavy fuel. Kob got easy run and good tow so would have been more suprising if Kob had not passed him.
    JB showed his agression and hunger when hunting down webber.

    1. ahe says:

      no, kobayashi showed his skills in brasil too, while button has a faster car…you forget that very important part.

      a rookie on his first miles in f1 making the veterans panic and whine he is really racing and not just letting them pass. irony missed.

  26. williams4ever says:

    All good things I have to say about this rookie has already been said by other posters here.
    So James I would like your insights on a separate but related topic.
    Is GP2 real reflection of what a driver can deliver in F1? Its time GP2′s monopoly as Feeder to F1 be revisited. We have likes of Piquet and Grosjean who have done well in this series in recent years and struggling in F1 debut and compare that with Kamui who has not had great GP2 performance but had his head sorted well enough to do well in his first two F1 races.

    1. James Allen says:

      That F3000/GP2 category can be a Bermuda Triangle for drivers. Only a few teams win, like ART or Barwa or Isport. Although the cars start out the same, because they can be worked on you end up with good cars and bad cars. Kobayashi wasn’t with a good team this year.

  27. Benni says:

    James, any possibility that Kobayashi will drive for McLaren in 2010?
    After all, Raikkonen had only been in F1 for one season when he joined them and Hamilton was a rookie.

    1. James Allen says:

      Apart from Hamilton, McLaren have not been known to take rookies

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        James, does this stem from their Michael Andretti experience?!

      2. jose says:

        it could be. But when dennis was in charge, the reason he didn’t hire italians was because of andrea de cesaris. In the 1981 season, he had something like 18 accidents, some of them damaging the chassis. The first carbon fiber in history. May be the reason he is alive today.

  28. john g says:

    interviews have shown he’s a top bloke as well – hope to see him in F1 next year :)

  29. Meeklo says:

    +1 for Kobi

    I hope he stays in F1 with or without Toyota.
    He’s a true racer!

  30. P Byrne says:

    First off, go easy on Button for not passing Webber. The guy in front is always going to have the advantage and Webber is a great scrapper and a top-level driver, no shame in losing out to him.

    Re Kobayashi, the one concern I would have is that his GP2 career was unremarkable. Was he with an underfinanced team? I’m just not convinced of his ultimate pace yet…

    I was hugely impressed by his spirit in Brazil, even more so when he ended up ahead of Trulli in the race (assuming they gave the departing Italian equal equipment).

    I’d love to think KK had the pace to match his racecraft. He’s a very exciting swashbuckler, we need more like him…

  31. shaun says:

    Its a shame he didn’t have the chance in Japan. I had my doubts at first and thought it could have been a political or commercial decisiion on Toyota F1 to try to fire up the board a bit.
    However, having seen him race twice I think Toyota will be kicking themselves for having a raw home talent sat on the shelf for 2 years.
    Bye Bye Jarno, no pictures or drivers meetings will show this in any other way than you got whupped by a rookie.

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree, I said at the time that Toyota should have had the courage of their convictions to put him in the car all weekend in Japan (bet Glock wishes they had now!)

  32. Mario says:

    Well done Mr Kobayashi. You have entertained us all. I’m sure you’ll get a drive next season. F1 needs your enthusiasm and passion, so do fans.

    X factor possessing driver is becoming more or less a standard in F1. I can see less creative drivers being phased out in near future. People like Trulli, Kubica(and I am his fan) and even Alonso will have to raise their game.

  33. Briand V. says:

    A german webpage posted an interview with Kabayashi today. Kobayashi basically has run out of money. He cannot afford another racing season in Europe. He now has got two options: Get a F1 drive with Toyota next year or end his career, which means to go back to Japan to work in his father’s sushi-restaurant. Substituting Glock really was his last resort. This guy had so much pressure on his shoulders during his first two races in F1 and has done so well. Courage born out of desperation. Outstanding.

  34. CMR says:

    They say 99% of all Breitling’s available on the net are fakes – Japan is only a short jump from Shanghai, where you can’t go 15ft without someone saying watch, watch, mont blanc…. I’m sure it’s real! Anyway it seems everyone in F1 has a huge watch on their wrist!

    Seriously – Kamui-san has been a real star for Toyota, he’s shown no fear of the big boys and really attacked the track. It’s been exciting to watch.

    I didn’t think Toyota would stay in F1 beyond Nov 15th – maybe Kobayashi & Sato pairing will convince them to stay a while longer..

  35. Tevin says:

    He lit up the race, made the World Champ look ordinary for the second week in a row. He’s the most exciting rookie driver since Hamilton. If Toyota don’t stay another team must take him.

  36. the samurai has landed.

    1. Ray.C. says:

      Or maybe Ninja….Did anyone see that coming?

  37. Formula says:

    What is with so many people here wanting McLaren to get Kobayashi? Must be predominantly British posters on this site.

    Kobayashi will race with Toyota before he races for any other team.

    Toyota are 99% confirmed for next year, I really don’t understand why people think they won’t be racing next year.

    1. James Allen says:

      Who says they are 99% confirmed? How can you be 99% confirmed? It either is or isn’t.

      1. Nina says:

        Hi James,

        a friend of mine who volunteered at the last GP said many Toyota personnel were spotted visiting other teams’ paddocks, and there was alot of speculation that they were told to find new jobs. Today, there is an announcement from Toyota that they will announce their f1 future on Sunday.

        Do you think this is due to the cost cutting measures that Toyota personnel are being laid off, or is there a higher chance of them withdrawing? I would hate to see Kobayashi end up making sushi!

      2. montonnik says:

        As my old boss used to say “it’s like being pregnant, either you are or you aren’t”.

        I guess we will have to wait until November 15th.

      3. Jim, Belfast says:

        Haha Nice one! Its the same as being 50% certain!

      4. Formula says:

        All sources and insiders close to Toyota say they will definitely be there next year. The “1%” that’s left is simply an official statement.

      5. Jim, Belfast says:

        Following todays comments i guess the 1% was a pretty big one!

      6. Martin P says:

        Have you got any tips for the Grand National next year?

    2. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

      It’s way too early for Kobayashi to go to a top team. He needs to prove himself over a season, even if he is off to a good start.

  38. Adam Taylor says:

    Formula One has been missing a driver like this for many years, someone that is not afraid to speak his mind. The last driver I think that was in a similar mould was possibly Eddie Irvine. I used to love the fact that if ever the media were short of stories they used to head over to him to get a quote on a situation which he always seemed to give an honest opinion about the situation.

    Before his introduction to the upper echelon of the sport there didnt seem to be a big fuss being made about the Japanese driver, whether its because there were better drivers around him or the car itself didnt seem to suit his style of driving. But i hope that he can take another step and as you said James and add a bit of performance here and there with consistency he can become a very marketable comodity. A Japanese driver in a Japanese car and engine mixed with Japanese tyers (well until the end of 2010 anyway)

    Although it is early in his career, Toyota seemed to have stumbled onto a great prospect for the future and just hope that they dont throw away the opportunity by pulling out of Formula 1 and risk losing possibly one of the best chances it has to finally climb up the grid.

  39. Terence says:

    I think what Kobayashi has shown is that under achieving in GP2 does not necessarily mean a lack of race craft to enter F1. As mentioned earlier, Piquet Jr and Grosjean both did well in GP2 but have since looked unimpressive. Should be most interesting to see how Hulkenberg does at Williams in 2010.

  40. moot says:

    Of course, flawless logic… :s

  41. F1 Fan says:

    Wow what a great drive, two races in a row very impressive. I hope we see him next year as he’s a breath of fresh air, he need more drivers like him. He may even save Toyota from pulling out!

  42. Duncan says:

    Nice to know. I remember Michael Schumacher was in similar straits during his debut for Jordan at Spa. And Schumacher also was rather unimpressive in the lower levels of the sport.

    I hope Toyota stays, and hope Kobayashi sticks to it as well…

  43. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    I’m just amazed that Kobayashi has done as well as he has despite the fact his GP2 career was, by all accounts, absolutely rubbish. Not only did he not perform well or show much pace, but he was pretty soundly beaten by his teammate, Jerome D’Ambrosio (who must be on suicide watch right now).

    His pace has been there since his practices in Japan. He was only a couple of tenths in single-lap pace off Trulli in Brazil, and he had more consistent pace there than Trulli did. It’s the same story in Abu Dhabi, although he was even quicker in the race than he was in Brazil.

    It’s true that Nakajima got off to a good start in his F1 career, but he benefited greatly from retirements. I thought Kobayashi would be the same story, but he just isn’t; his pace in Abu Dhabi was genuine and excellent. He’s definitely earned his place in F1, and he’s done so despite having no testing during the season.

  44. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Kobayashi reminds me not a little of Alonso when he came on the scene: Fearless, focused, and willing to mix it up. It’s easier to see because the Toyota is a better car than the Minardi was, but he has The Look.

  45. Kenny says:

    Toyota F1 have never had a personality…they’ve just been there going through the motions, or so it seems. They need a kick in the pants, and Kobayashi may be just the ticket. I hope they give him some rope rather than smother him the corporate blanket. And, as Adam Taylor says, F1 needs a character like Kobayashi.

    Added bonus- the guy can drive.

  46. graham says:

    Kobayashi is the hungriest driver out there. He is going to eat up the competition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN_H8GOF4_s&feature=related

  47. Patrickl says:

    Where did my replies and the replies to those go? Lost in one of the site crashes or something?

  48. Supervly says:

    November 4 and the news coming out of Japan is that Toyota will leave F1 at the end of the year – its a sad say

  49. john g says:

    shame for kobayashi that toyota have pulled out of F1. i guess he will have a very busy sushi restaurant now tho!

  50. Graeme Nesbitt says:

    Unfortunately this all seems a little bit elementary now with Toyota’s withdrawal this morning.

    I wonder can he pick up a ride elsewhere? He certainly did impress on his 2 outings but I can’t help feeling that there is some more deserving talent out there that would likely have impressed just as much had they been given an opportunity of 2 end-of-season drives in a works car.

    1. Baktru says:

      Well we don’t need Alguersari and Grosjean back… There must be a place open still somewhere then. After all, there’s 24 seats. And 26 possibly if Sauber makes a comeback now that Toyota is out.

  51. Baktru says:

    Toyota announced today that they are out of Formula One as of now so….

    I do hope another team takes up Kobayashi..

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