Kobayashi relishing first home race

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Kamui Kobayashi got to drive in front of his home crowd for Toyota during practice at Suzuka last year.

This time he will get to race in front of them as he prepares to start his first home Grand Prix for Sauber next week.

He said:

Returning to race in Japan as a Formula One driver means a lot to me.

I had a taste of it last year when I stepped in for Timo Glock at Toyota for the Friday practice sessions. This was at short notice, but for this year’s race a lot of supporters are going to be there.

There has been a "Kamui Kobayashi" fans corner set up between turns two and three. It has more than 2,000 seats and has been sold out for quite a while. I managed to buy tickets for friends and I hope they will be having fun.

He explained that life for an aspiring racing driver in Japan was very different to one growing up in Europe:

It is huge and I think this is because Europe has all the history in motor racing. You have plenty of smaller racing series which provide for good driver development.

Anyone who has attended a Japanese Formula One Grand Prix knows about the excitement and passion the people have for it. But it is also true it is not easy for Japanese people to follow Formula One because the European races are broadcast live relatively late at night.

I rather wanted to become a comedian – Amagasaki is quite popular for Japanese comedians. But I found I wasn’t talented enough.

My parents were not at all interested in racing. They still don’t own a road car. I bought myself a car twice, but both times my father sold it. He runs a Sushi delivery shop in Amagasaki. Most likely if I hadn’t been quick in karting perhaps I would have become a sushi chef. But I hate raw fish.

I didn’t do a lot of racing in Japan and the last race was long ago. It was in 2003 with Formula Toyota on the short track in Suzuka, not on the Grand Prix circuit. I was 17 years old then.

Of course it was strange when I first came to Europe, actually to Vicenza in Italy, because I didn’t even speak English and everything was completely different. But it was also a lot of fun!

This seems to be very difficult to understand for Europeans, but for Japanese it is not that unusual to leave your family and go to work elsewhere. Even when I was doing things in Japan I rarely met my family.

Most times I went to Tokyo and they still live in Amagasaki, which is close to Osaka and quite far away from Tokyo. I always like to stay somewhere nice, but it doesn’t really matter which country it is.
Kamui Kobayashi

After posting his eighth retirement in 15 races at Singapore he’s hopeful of a better result at Suzuka:

After a good qualifying the outcome of the race in Singapore was, of course, disappointing for me. I hope in Suzuka we have reason to be happy on both Saturday and on Sunday. We all think the circuit should suit our car pretty well.
Kamui Kobayashi

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    31 comments on “Kobayashi relishing first home race”

    1. I rarely make this kind of comment, but sod it: Go Kobayashi!

      1. I agree. Sod it. I hope he does well.

    2. “I bought myself a car twice, but both times my father sold it.”

      HUH!, Damn, Really, thats ridiculous, let this man succeed, he deserves it like anything. Old Style mansellesque fight to the grid, I love it. Hope he gets a chance to win races.

      1. That’s just great sit-com fodder isn’t it? “You did what?

        1. I think it is great how he just went out and bought a car without consulting his Dad, then when he sold it, he bought another one! That is pure brilliance. :P

          1. That’s the best part, and it totally fits with his personality we’ve seen on track. He’s definitely the best addition to F1 in terms of personality in a long time.

        2. And he tells us he does NOT have the talent for a comedian?

          1. I guess his Dad is the straight man to his foil, like in Japanese standup (“manzai”).

            And now that he’s declared his Kansai origins, I’ve got a wierd mental image of Kobayashi talking in that Osaka accent…

      2. “Where is my car?”
        “I sold it.”

      3. Yep 110% agree, but lets not forget how classy Kamui is either. “I need to see the data” after his front wing failure earlier in the year.

        Also his recent paddock interview he said what we all knew he had been thinking after those first four DNF’s, he knows he needs to be consistent. Singapore was a good race for him with a very simple mistake that should not be tallied against him with his other DNF’s earlier in the year.

        I just enjoy this kid, his interviews, and the fact that he always seems to be smiling when you catch him in a picture. He’s in F1 and he is loving it. “I was concentrating so hard on overtaking people that I didn’t know how many laps were left.” love it!

    3. This is perhaps the best interview I have ever read! Great stuff. :D

    4. very nice story, Kamui :O!!

      Gooooo Koba :D!

    5. Great story. What a guy.

    6. great story, nice read!

    7. Well, if this man would have a fast car, I think he could become the new F1 star. Everybody seems to like him, and people don’t see him as a Japanese : I personnaly think that only the best drivers are considered as only drivers without considering their nationality

    8. Hes unusual in f1 in only that he can be quick but is often slow and he makes way too many errors at this level. I like to watch him only because he takes more gambles than most. But would i want him driving for my team? Head says no.

      1. What errors? More often than not his car’s been the thing that’s packed up on him, I’m sure he makes just as many/few errors as anyone else. If anything he’s dodged potential errors – think Valencia!

        1. In Silverstone he finished higher than Valencia, and not due to a risky strategy, it was purely on merit.

    9. I have this sneaking suspicion that we still havent seen the best from him. I just feel that when he gets the right car under him he will have a breakout year. At least, that’s what I want to happen.

      1. I agree. I think he’s already shining in the mid-grade cars that he’s driven, so he could be something special in a great car. Plus, he’s fun to watch drive, completely fearless. Go Kobayashi!

    10. Wow, how come this story wasn’t brought to light before? I was already becoming a fan, but this just makes me like the guy all the more. I truly hope he does well.

      There has never been a Japanese winner of a grand prix, correct?

      1. Correct. I’m hoping he’s the first.

    11. Very likable :). Great interview – has made me want to eat sushi. I’m off, then :). Bye!

    12. Good stuff from a likable guy!

    13. I’ve liked Koba ever since last year @ Brazil when he was taking the fight to Brawn in his Toyota. From then I could this guy had balls of steel and would not hesitate to go wheel-to-wheel against anyone.
      Please he’s my teammate in F1 2010 so why not like him?

      1. He’s my team mate to. But for some reason, every time he looks set to score points, he always pits.

      2. It’s sad that Toyota pulled out of the sports when they looked that they could have a better car for 2011 with a good driver with them.

    14. His performance so far has really kept me wondering why Toyota insisted on backing Nakajima in Williams as a driver who ”paid” for engines when they had Kobayashi on a payroll as well. I really hope he succeeds, he really had a tough track to F1 drive which he deserves.

    15. Honestly, I think Murray Walker’s saying applies more here than Ukyo:

      “Kamui Kobayashi is the best driver Formula 1 has ever produced!”

      1. That’s my only worry for Kamui, people forget quickly that at one stage Ukyo was a hot topic as well…

        Still as Icthyes said…

        Sod it, Go Kobayashi!

    16. If he makes the right decision in the right time & there are sponsors supporting him which I think shouldn’t be a trouble in Japan given his talent he can go a lot far then he is now.

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