Kobayashi’s 2013 seat fund set to pass £1m

2013 F1 season

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Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Singapore, 2012Kamui Kobayashi has received almost £1m in donations from fans as he tries to raise funds to stay on the Formula One grid.

Kobayashi launched the Kamui Support website after Sauber confirmed Esteban Gutierrez would join the team for 2013, leaving no place for Kobayashi at the team.

Gutierrez bring backing from Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex. Sauber had already appointed Nico Hulkenberg for next season following Sergio Perez’s move to McLaren.

As of today Kobayashi has raised ¥127,863,961 (£967,000) via the website.

Lotus, Force India, Caterham and Marussia potentially have vacancies in their 2013 driver line-ups, as do HRT, though there are serious doubts over whether they will continue in F1 next year.

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Image © Sauber F1 Team

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Kobayashi’s 2013 seat fund set to pass £1m”

  1. It seems pretty disingenuous to have kamui-support.com Japanese-only. Kobayashi is very popular in the entire world, and would probably be able to get a lot of support.

    1. I’m fairly sure it’s like I’ve said elsewhere. If he gets any funding, he feels it should be from his home country, maybe because he knows he will work hard to repay the money in performance and other visits to his country. But mostly because of national pride, I believe. So I wouldn’t expect seeing an English donation page appearing any time soon.

  2. I thought we were against pay drivers? Now the F1 community wants to pay to have a certain driver on the grid?

    1. The problem with ‘pay drivers’ is the fact that genuinely talented drivers like Kobayashi lose out to lesser skilled drivers solely because of the money they bring with them. It looks like this year we’ll be losing Kovalainen and Kobayashi, both because they don’t have enough money, and not because they don’t have enough talent. It’s a sad situation where talented drivers have to rely on charity in order to stay in a race seat, but if that’s the only way then that’s the only way.

      The support site has more though than just money to give Kamui. If I was responsible for making decisions at a team like Lotus, I’d certainly be taking note of the fact that a driver is popular enough to generate that much money in donations. Consider what it would do for the popularity of the team which employs him. You literally can’t buy that kind of publicity.

      1. You literally can’t buy that kind of publicity.

        You can’t buy results, either.

        If Lotus are indeed considering Kobayashi, then they’ll be mindful that he hasn’t really performed at all – not in comparison to his team-mate, no in comparison to the team’s expencations, and certainly not in comparison to fan expectations. And whil Romain Grosjean does have a documented history of crashing into things, he does have three podiums from twenty-six starts. Kobayashi has one podium from sixty starts. So naturally, they’ll be looking at Kobayashi’s results with a critical eye, because there is a chance that they will be passing on a fast-but-irregular driver for someone who is consistent, but slow.

        1. I think that’s an unfair assessment. If you look at how this season has panned out, most of Perez’s decent finishes came off the back of incidents which removed several drivers from the race in front of him. In fact, of the 8 races where both Saubers finished, it’s 4:4 in terms of who finished higher.

          At the most critical, you’d have to say that Kobayashi is a very solid driver who can overtake sensibly (remember in 2009 when he reminded F1 what an overtake was?) and generally finishes the race higher than he starts. his main weakness is probably his qualifying pace, but what he lacks there he makes up for in grit and controlled aggression during the race. If you have a subscription, go onto Autosport and look up the article asking whether McLaren chose the wrong Sauber driver, when Perez was announced.

          Not every driver on the grid can be a champion in waiting, and F1 needs a good haul of people like Kobayashi who can sensibly bring a car home and score good points. On his day, he’s able to achieve more than that as well, and deliver a very decent performance.

          The decision to drop him really has nothing to do with his ability behind the wheel, and everything to do with Peter Sauber’s rapidly diminishing bank balance.

          1. The decision to drop him really has nothing to do with his ability behind the wheel, and everything to do with Peter Sauber’s rapidly diminishing bank balance.

            As far as I am aware, Nico Hulkenberg brings no – or next to no – sponsorship to Sauber in 2013. So assuming that Esteban Gutierrez is filling in the role vacated by Segio Perez and securing money from Mexico, Hulkenberg is really replacing Kobayashi. Which naturally begs the question: if Gutierrez replaces Perez for the money, why did Sauber choose Hulkenberg over Kobayashi?

          2. That’s very true, but consider why it is that Hulkenberg is on the market in the first place – because Force India need to find a pay driver. in Gutierrez, Sauber get to continue their very lucrative relationship with TelMex and Slim, so their coffers are already being propped up by sponsorship thanks to a pay driver. Otherwise, why would they not have simply kept Kobayashi and have Hulkenberg alongside him, since that would surely be the stronger line up in the short term at least. Sauber can’t afford to do that, so they must take Esteban (who I must say I think has a bright future, but that’s by the by), leaving just one seat available for a non paying driver. In that situation, it was probably a no-brainer that they took Hulkenberg instead of Kobayashi, but again, the situation only arose because they had to put a lesser driver into one of their cars in the first place.

            The crux of it though is that Kobayasi is a really good driver who has suffered more than most through circumstance this year. Keep in mind that Perez’s best finishes this year all came off the back of unusual circumstances allowing him to get an advantage, such as competitors dropping out and a tyre advantage (more often than not caused by him failing to make Q3, and giving him an advantage over Kobayashi who generally outqualified him), whereas Kobayashi’s podium in Japan was hard fought, and won genuinely on merit, and thanks to holding off a charging Jenson Button. Drop him in any decent car and he’ll be a really solid points scorer, he’s definitely too good to just be ditched out of F1 on the grounds of money.

          3. I’m fairly certain that Gutierrez has been groomed for a race seat for a while now. While his GP2 season this year was disappointing, it was better than his 2011 season, so I think he’s done enough to get into Formula 1 on merit.

          4. @prisoner-monkeys. I thought a read somewhere that Gutierrez himself said he’s not sure if he’s ready for Formula 1.

          5. @prisoner-monkeys

            I think it’s a given that Gutierrez was going to get a seat. The issue however concerns the other seat. In which, it’s obvious to pick Hulkenburg, surely a future star over most other drivers, including Kamui.

            There was no room in Sauber for him this year, with exception of him finding a massively wealthy backer, which lets face it, is unlikely.

          6. Though all you say is nice, I think the best thing you could have said that you didn’t from what I can see is what the numbers tell us. Perez was fast but not so fast that he blew Kamui out of the water.

            The numbers show us as well as results, that Kamui was only 6 points from his team mate at the end of the season. For someone who got tons of hype, and then given the seat at McLaren, with such a small window of a lead doesn’t seem more worthy than Kamui. If anything they were equal through the season. No Kamui wasn’t as fast as he needed to be all the time. But Sergio was not as smart which caused him to fail himself in many races. If you ask me Sauber should have kept the team the same (if possible) and used this season as the true marker. Would Kamui rise to the challenge as he did in Japan, would Perez drop the frequent mistakes?

          7. Precisely. Kobayashi impressed me most with how he was able to quite significantly improve upon his starting position in a good fraction of his races. His qualifying was lackluster by comparison, but as a viewer I enjoy seeing what Kobayashi can accomplish in the actual race. Even for those who feel Perez was the better driver, it doesn’t make sense for Perez to go to McClaren (!!) and for Kobayashi to fall out of F1 entirely. The skill difference wasn’t THAT drastic that one of them goes to a premier team and the other is left teamless.

        2. Prisoner Monkeys, its obvious from your earlier posts you are not a Kamui fan. However, you cannot deny that he outperformed every single teammate he had before Perez, and has out qualified Perez often. Being faster meant more conservative strategies compared to the risky “tyre management” approach of Sergio Perez in his best accomplishments. Kamui actualy qualified strongly in what is considered one of the few drivers circuit, Spa Francoshamps, and was “Grosjean rolled”. His podium in Japan was a top driver performance, with similar strategies than the top teams. He didn’t make a mistake. In Brazil he was having an amazing race and was in for a top 5 result if not for a late spin, something he doesn’t do often. You may not like the guy, but he is obviously above average and an asset to the F1 grid. Personally from what I’ve seen from both Grosjean and Kamui when they were young and driving here in Macau in Formula 3, Kamui was exceptional, Grosjean was average.

          1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
            1st December 2012, 10:30

            I think I must add that Koba had a lot more problems with his car. For instance, he had DNF in Malaysia when his teammate could have won. Obviously, team decided to take Hulk over Koba because they believe they could have taken 5th place in standings. Koba made stupid mistake in Valencia which means he lost one more (possible) podium in his career.

            To me, it is comprehendible that Sauber decided to take another driver. But I can’t understand why crash-kid Perez signs an agreement with legendary team while Koba has no seat in F1.

            That is not fair.

      2. People seem to like Kovalainen but I think it’s entirely justified that he’s losing his seat this year. Caterham are paying him 4m a year, which is astronomical for them and I’m sure much much more than Petrov receives. So I think it’s logical for Caterham to question whether Kovalainen gets as much out of the car as they pay him? I can see why they’d want to get rid of him and pay half the wages for a driver who may not be as talented, but gets a similar performance out of the car. Am I the only one who thinks this way re. Kov’s situation? Maybe he could stay if he was willing to accept a pay-cut? I don’t dislike Kovalainen or anything I just wouldn’t be paying him 4m to drive a Caterham if I was the owner!

        Only commenting on this because I’ve been following the Kobayashi situation for awhile and it’s getting increasingly interesting. Would love to see him at Lotus.

      3. The problem with ‘pay drivers’ is the fact that genuinely talented drivers like Kobayashi lose out to lesser skilled drivers

        Is he genuinely talented? He was outclassed by Perez – a supposed pay driver. He honestly hasn’t really impressed this season (bar qualifying in Belgium and the Japanese GP) whereas Perez had impressed enough with his multiple podium places to earn a drive with McLaren. I would actually like to see other drivers get an oppurtunity to show their stuff, something Kobayshi has done on occasion but only on occasion.

        1. @vettel1 – I’m not sure about “outclassed”. Although Perez took more podiums, and therefore stood out more, Kobayashi was only 6 points off him, having scored on 2 more more occasions than Perez. Perez is talented, but I don’t see how the gap is so big in ability that one should be at Mclaren and the other out of the sport.

          1. @david-a – I think the situation with Perez and Kobayashi has similarities to Maldonado and Senna: Maldonado is clearly faster but less consistent with his points scoring so the gap doesn’t reflect upon his speed. Likewise, with Perez he has for sure been faster throughout the course of the season (except in qualifying strangely) than Kobayashi but again since his McLaren signing he has scored no points: partly due to the Sauber’s pace not being as strong as earlier in the season and partly due to a rashness akin to Maldonado suddenly appearing with the knowledge that he will drive for McLaren.

            For sure though the performance gap is not so cavernous that Perez is now driving for McLaren and Kobayashi is at risk of losing his place in F1.

    2. I don’t like it either, but not because it turns him into a “pay driver”, but because I hate to see a rich man begging for money, even if it’s a likable guy like Kamui. Maybe he didn’t deliver exceptional results in the last few years, but I used to respect him. Not so much after this e-begging ploy. And it’s not because I don’t like donations, but I like to know where my money is going. Does anybody know where all this cash will end up, if Kamui doesn’t get a seat? Some kind of charity, or his pocket?

      1. Apparently (i used google translator) if he doesn’t get a seat next year, he will keep the money to try again in 2014. He’s not refunding.

      2. he paid for nearly 40 people to to Suzuka after the terrible earthquake in Japan. Plus he donated millions to help the people who were affected by that huge disaster.
        I am not Japanese, but I live in Japan. And the people of Japan genuinely want to repay the favor.

        He has done a lot for them. Maybe now they feel they can do something for him!

        1. @brunes He donated millions? Wow! Could you give us the source of this revelation? As far as I know he donated his helmet, which was really cool, and it was sold for $19000. But I don’t see how it’s close to “millions”.

          1. @maroonjack – Millions of yen? :)

    3. all drivers are pay drivers, even the ones that don’t bring sponsors and are paid. How so? Because a driver is hired on his marketability and speed. If he has the speed to win the prizes on offer, he doesn’t need to bring the money with him, if the team is too lowly or has no other source of income then the driver has to bring money one way or another to fund his drive.

      Lewis, Vettel, Button, Alonso etc are all generating income with their abilitly to keep the cameras on them, so effectively they are also pay drivers. When they lose that ability, they lose their place or they go out and find funding.

      This sport is not about the best athlete, it’s really about making money as once upon a time it was only the wealthy elite who could afford to compete in motorsport.

      1. All people speak about why Sauber choose esteban over Kamui, but the real questions is why Sauber choose Nico over Kamui becuase at the end Sauber its not getting any money from Nico.

  3. Any chance that Kobayashi may stay on in F1 in some capacity like test driver, or land Alguersuari’s job at Pirelli (assuming the Alguersuari-Force India rumours are true)?

    1. He says he’s in talks with other teams, but then, every driver looking for a seat says he is in talks with teams.

      We simply have no idea where Kobayashi might end up. He’s struggled to get funding together from a corporate sponsor, which is why he has wound up using the kamui-support website to generate funds. His best bet is to find a team like Force India or Lotus who already have established financial resources meaning the pressure for drivers to bring sponsors is lesser, and to use whatever funds he can get to try and secure the seat.

  4. It’s a bit crazy, isn’t it ?

    When you are homeless and begs, you manage to get a few pounds at most. When you earn big and beg, you get a million within days…

    I really like KK as a driver, but i won’t got that far and turn him into a pay driver.
    What’s his last chance ? Force India ? Maybe Lotus instead of GRO ? I can’t see him going to a new team: he’d better wait a year, tun up at the races, communicate and get back the year after with a better seat.

    1. Given that most of it comes from fans, I would think that it shows a team they might get a solid following with a popular driver who brings home good points.
      That certainly is something for a team to consider, no?

      And then there is the money, just look at Williams, they only announced Bottas after his management had contracted several companies from Finland to support the drive. How is this different?

  5. I really don’t know what to think about the fund. Kobayashi is a good driver but this might be a bit too much. He is popular and his many fans are obviously ready to support him this way but I don’t think this is a serious long-term solution. So Kobayashi will ‘buy’ a race seat for a year or half a year but what next? Moreover, F1 shouldn’t be a popularity contest. However, this might be a clever way to attract new sponsors’ attention.

    1. @girts I’d agree if F1 was a level playing field where drivers were chosen on talent alone. Sadly, that’s not the case these days, and the reality is that at least two very skilled drivers are currently set to lose their seats in F1 to less experienced drivers entirely because of money. it’s not like we’re talking about a Luca Badoer, plodding around the track seconds off the pace. Kobayashi is a great driver, very skilled at overtaking with genuine pace and ability behind the wheel. In fact, but for a few situations outside of his control, he could easily have had the beating of his teammate in 2012, and Perez is at least rated highly enough that McLaren are willing to give him a shot.

      1. it’s not like we’re talking about a Luca Badoer, plodding around the track seconds off the pace

        Luca is an awesome driver!

    2. I have a feeling this is exactly it.

      The more people seem “interested” in Kobayashi, the more likely sponsors will consider him a safe and successful investment.

      The money raised may just be, shall we say, “Start Up Capital”.

    3. I am a big Kobayashi fan, but I have to agree with you that the whole Kamui Fund doesn’t seem to feel right for the reasons you’ve stated.

  6. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    30th November 2012, 10:40

    This shows that Kobyashi is a very POPULAR driver with Japanese (and foreign) F1 fans. Some team that has legitimate sponsors (not from “pay” drivers) could use this to their advantage. Lotus and their Burn sponsorship, for instance.

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      30th November 2012, 10:54

      that have*

    2. “Some team that has legitimate sponsors (not from “pay” drivers)”

      Sponsors coming from drivers became as legitimate as others in the current economic situation. When even midfield teams can’t get or keep the sponsors they have, they have to accept sponsors coming from drivers, otherwise they wouldn’t survive in F1. Furthermore the quality of most of the so-called pay drivers of today is very good compared to we used to see in the past, when we had real pay drivers, people who simply didn’t have enough talent (and CV) to be in F1 and were only there for their money (Giovanni Lavaggi, Jean-Denis Deletraz, Yuji Ide, etc.)

  7. What have Kamui and Kovalainen done racing wise that have people saying that they are skilled and they “deserve” to be in F1? Kovalainen has 1 win and 4 podiums in 109 starts! Kobayahi ‘s career is not any better. I would take a chance with a young driver with both money and a question mark above him over Heikki and Kamui. Their careers will not get ANY better. We have seen the best of them and they are not getting any better and they will not start turning awesome performances any time soon.

    1. Kobayahi ‘s career is not any better.

      In fairness to Kobayashi, he scored only 6 points less than someone who is not just remaining in F1, but has been promoted to Mclaren. Kobayashi also did better than his teammates in 2010 and 2011.

      1. You are correct. But he has achieved his maximum, I could be my llife that Sergio will be WDC at some point. Do you see Kamui as WDC? He is barely ok guys. I love him, he seems like a warm and wonderful human being, but his career has peaked.

          1. Really @jp1987? The Sergio Perez I watched towards the end 2012 looked like a man who had so much pressure on his shoulders that he could barely string together a decent lap.

            I’m not saying Kamui will be a future world champion but he’s a lot closer to Perez than people give him credit for. Kamui has improved dramatically in the three seasons he’s been in the sport and has gone from a dive-bombing wild child to a more intelligent, yet equally as talented, consistent points scorer so to suggest he has peaked is a ludicrous statement in my opinion.

            I think the main point people are trying to get across is that Perez is getting a seat in one of the best teams in the sport (and deservedly so) while Kobayashi, who only finished six points behind, has had to resort to donations to make sure he will be driving. It just seems so unjust.

          2. Well it’s not like Perez has excatly ‘dominated’ did he, especially with his recent run of no-scores after he has signed with Mclaren (for about the last 5 races or so).

            Like really? I think people are starting to over-praise Checo too much, at the rather poor expense of Kobayshi, who has done a good job of collecting nearly as many points with less podiums, by performing consistently.

            Don’t get me wrong, Perez has great potential, no doubting that, after his podium drives. But he can’t do so if he continues with his erratic performances at other races. Especially with avoidable mistakes in Japan, Abu Dhabi.

            Japan was truly a hard-fought, and deserved podium for Kobayashi. Especially after he has had to fend of a charging Button with a much stronger Mclaren at the last few laps. And with his strong consistency, he’d be a great asset to top teams.

        1. @jp1987 hahahaha. something tells me your just saying that through red white and green tinted glasses

    2. This only makes sense if every car on the grid has a chance to get on the podium, which clearly isn’t the case. Kovalainen started in a Renault in 2007 which was the fourth best car on the grid at best. That year was dominated by McLaren and Ferrar. In fact, in the whole year only four times did a driver from another team stand on the podium. One of those times was Kovalainen.

      In fact it was only in 2008 where he was in a car capable genuinely of winning races. You’d have to say that to only score one victory in that time was an underperformance, but keep in mind that this was just his second year in F1, and his teammate was a man who most think is one of the best talents to arrive in F1 in the past few decades. It’s hardly surprising he was eclipsed somewhat by Hamilton. in 2009, McLaren rolled out an absolute dog of a car, which at the start of the year was unable to get anywhere near the podium. McLaren developed it aggressively and by the end of the year it was significantly improved, but even Hamilton was only able to drag it to victory twice.

      Since 2010, Kovalainen has been in cars which have absolutely no hope of getting into the points, let alone challenging for a podium, and yet even languishing towards the back of the grid he’s still managed to impress; he comprehensively outqualified teammate Jarno Trulli despire Trulli’s reputation as a qualifying specialist, and of all the ‘new’ teams he’s generally been the driver more often than not to finish highest. He’s consistently managed to get the most out of the car on pretty much any given weekend, to the point where he’s been considered for several drives towards the front of the grid. Kovalainen has arguably shown his best performance while driving around in cars at the back of the grid. His consistency and ability to beat a teammate has shown that his stint in green cars has improved him as a driver, and he definitely deserves another shot at the front. His finish to 2012 has arguably been fairly poor by his own standards, but considering that during that time he’s been facing an exit from the sport, it’s probably not surprising that he’s not been able to deliver his maximum.

      Yes it’s easy to say that he’s not in the same class as Alonso, Hamilton, and co. But they’re special. They’re the greats of their generation, and it’s unfair to measure his ability by theirs. You can’t fill 24 seats with potential champions, because there aren’t 24 drivers in the world with the level of ability of the front runners. But a driver as good as Kovalainen, and Kobayashi, is an asset to any team wanting to fight for constructors’ championships.

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      30th November 2012, 15:59

      well, if you consider kovalainen drove for McLaren and got just 1 victory, makes you wonder if he is really good @jp1987

      1. And even that one win was achieved after Massa’s engine blew up with a couple of laps remaining. He certainly didnt drive like a race winner,leave alone a future champion,in his years with McLaren….

    4. @jp1987

      I don’t think the amount of podiums earned within the amount of starts is a very good measure of a driver at all, and a very dubious one at that too.

      There is still many different variables to take into account, such as the car’s pace/reliability, race strategies, retirements, weather etc etc, that could easily have an adverse effect on the driver’s race, leaving only the driver himself not being able to make much difference, regardless of skill.

      Just take champions like Button and Hakkinen for example. Both these drivers may have a lot less podiums in their many starts as compared to Schumacher, Vettel or Hamilton , especially after having to endure many seasons with uncompetitive cars, which hindered them from showing their true potential (Hakkinen-early Mclaren years, Button- Honda).

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t great champions in their own right. Not everyone is lucky to have many variables to match their talent deserving of great results

      Stats like those only tell a very little and undetailed part to the whole story, and sadly can easily be manipulated to give an inaccurate depiction of the whole situation itself.

    5. Difference between Kamui and Kovi is that Kovi was had 2 years in a race winning McLaren and a year in a pretty fast Lotus to prove himself. If Kamui had been given the same opportunity and delivered equal or less than Kovi.. I would have to agree, but he hasn’t had that opportunity.. So we don’t really know how good he is as he spends most of his time fighting his way through traffic in a slower car.

      1. *Lotus* > *Renault* :)

        1. davidnotcoulthard
          1st December 2012, 8:58

          Just say Toleman!

  8. Any word on what will happen to the fund if he doesn’t get a drive?

    1. I believe they have said that they will probably donate it all to charity.

      1. Would be lovely if they used it to promote the sport for young and upcoming drivers from Japan!

    2. Returned to who ever donated.

      1. Nope, his brother confirmed that it will go to charity.

  9. This reminds me a bit of what Justin Wilson did, though he was selling shares in himself – a quick google of the share plan shows the profit share continues until 2012, it would be interesting to know how well those investors did out of their investment given Justin’s long career over the North America.

    I’m sure that Kobayashi could raise a lot that way too, with the fallback of Indycar making it a good investment prospect (though being a Toyota driver he may not be able to make that jump as easily as Takuma Sato for example).

    1. I am not completely sure, but I think I read they made a solid profit out of it @jereseyf1

      1. sorry, @jersayf1!

      2. this is getting embarrassing :-) Wanted to tag @jerseyf1

  10. I’m not sure what to think of this. Being supported by donation money is different than getting it from a sponsor, which is fundamentally an economic transaction. There is no advertising here, no benefit for the paying party. I can think of so many better reasons to spend a $1m than to support some driver to turn a wheel in an open cockpit car.

    I don’t think I’ve got a particular problem with it, free market and all, I just find a bit odd/won’t be donating anything, despite liking the guy quite a bit.

  11. This is really interesting actually! It would be amazing to see him on the grid as a result of this, it would certainly be giving something back to the fans and I think do a lot to bring the F1 grid into line with the rest of humanity!

    1. Yes, to me this is really special. He is appealing to his fan base instead of a corporation. Now if he races in F1, his fans will be an active part of his career.

    2. Exactly…
      Kamui has done a lot for the people of Japan. He donated millions after the terrible earthquake/tsunami.

      Maybe now, Japan feels it’s time to repay the favor. So, why have a driver sponsored by a whole country?

  12. Kobayashi did a lot for the Japanese when they had the terrible disasters.
    Maybe now, Japan feels it’s time to repay the favor. So, why have a driver sponsored by a whole country?

  13. I feel very ambiguous on the whole idea of a ‘fund’ set up for a racing driver. I mean, I like Kobayashi, he’s a decent racing driver and a likeable character, but in my mind it still seems somewhat ludicrous that people are giving him their hard-earned money just so that he can continue racing in a sport, and they can see him continue. If it were a driver I heralded greatly, such as JB, then I probably would follow suit, and for that reason I can understand why fans are helping with the fund, and raising so much money.

    However, there are still some uncertainties. Who is to say that what will be raised will be enough? And if it is not, will the money be given back to the fans who tried so desperately hard to see one of their favourites continue racing in Formula 1? One other thing springs to mind, and that is that if a driver really wants a seat, then aren’t there other ways to go about it? Surely, whilst in talks, they could negotiate by saying they don’t mind being paid less. I mean, if it were me, then I would be willing to take a lot less than what some of these drivers get paid if it simply means that I can continue racing, and that my team can use that money to try and build a better car. In my mind, this clearly has the possibility to cancel out some of the big sponsorship that other drivers bring. Perhaps not entirely, but maybe level the playing field somewhat.

    Another thing that has eluded me is that why haven’t some teams gone down this route? In the time of hardship we are in, it probably isn’t the wisest idea to ‘beg’ for money, but surely some teams that are possibly hard up for some cash could set up similar funds. You only need to look at this to see how much money can be raised, and if it were teams like Williams, Sauber, and even Caterham, I’m sure they’d be able to raise quite a lot of money, which in turn has the possibility to help them move up the grid and fight the wealthier teams. In this respect, I can see it being more beneficial to the fans, as then they would be able to see their favourite team do better, and then know that they helped in that. A driver may not be able to provide that same feeling.

    1. After looking at the driver salaries for 2012, compared to some of the sponsorship, I take back some of what I said about drivers taking a pay cut, as it would be only a very small fraction of how much money is in sponsorship. (£800k for Kobayashi’s year compared to Maldonado bringing something along the lines of £45, or Senna who brings £12m)
      Though, I do still think that my other points stand.

      1. I think it’s not a problem at all in what Kamui is doing. Although it’s hard-earned money most of his fans had donated, they’re doing it because they want to do so. The point is, people want to help him and no matter how difficult it was to earn their money, they’re willing to give a small part of it to Kobayashi.

        It seems fair to me. And I can’t see a big difference between this situation and football clubs whose supporters pay for membership titles

        1. Exactly, haha. It’s not anyone’s place to criticize arbitrary donations to a cause people believe in.

        2. @AlanMcLaren – I can see where you’re coming from, but it still seems absurd given what that money could have done elsewhere, especially in charities. Though, of course I can’t and won’t tell people what to do with their money, and it’s none of my business, but to me there still is something strange about a driver asking for money from people.

          I’m certainly not criticizing him for it, as if it works, then all power to him, and as I eluded to in my previous post, I do like him and it would be nice to see him continue.

          Still, as I said before, I don’t see why more teams haven’t done this. I’m sure both Marussia and HRT at the very least could benefit quite a lot from this, as would the other teams I mentioned previously. (Though it would also be nice for them to notify fans as to where that money is going)

          1. Fair enough. I don’t disagree what you said. The amount of money already raised would help so many people!

            But just try and see through the eyes of a true Kamui’s fan: Telmex money “took” Kobayashi’s seat at Sauber. Why can’t they try to do the same? Telmex and PDVSA would help to solve many problems if they decided to donate their money to charity instead of “feeding” a greedy sport.

            The likes of Abramovich and both PSG and Man City owners aren’t any different when it comes to “waste” money on sports. I say huge amount of money. They could help so many people as well…

            What I mean is that other people are doing it all the time for different reasons. It doesn’t mean your opinion is wrong, ’cause it’s not!

  14. What does he do with the money should he not get an F1 seat?

    1. Kitamura McLaren fan
      1st December 2012, 13:03

      kamui-support.com say to use the donations for 2014 seat if they can’t get 2013 seat.

  15. I’m not really impressed in the style Kobayashi is trying to receive backing. It would pain me to ask people to “donate” money just for me to continue to race at a top flight while there are people far less fortunate that need the money.

    Anyways putting that aside, the reason that Kobayashi and Kovalainen are losing their seats is not JUST because some other driver is bringing in sponsorship. Todays pay drivers are very talented, and if you have a driver that is as good as your predecessor and brings in sponsorship than it is a no brainer. Towards the end of the season Vitaly was beginning to perform better than Heikki, so how does Heikki convince teams to offer him a contract. Outright talent? I don’t think so. Ever since Perez joined Kamui in Sauber he has outperformed him by a small margin but he was bringing backing that Kamui was not. So Peter Sauber has chosen to risk hiring a driver who in my opinion is more talent but may not bring sponsorship, and Esteban who may prove to be just as talented but brings in money.

    We won’t know whether this was the right decision or not until the end of the next season, but as of now lets not behave like we lost an all time great.

    1. He isn’t forcing anyone to donate, though. Just asking. If you do not want to donate, don’t donate.

  16. How funny it’d be if he didn’t get a seat anywhere…

  17. If your passionate enough to get where you want. You’ll do all ways and means, even if asking funds from your fans. And if your fan, passionate enough to see your favorite driver on the grid – no questions ask I’ll share my few bucks just to see a deserving driver on the grid. Go KK!

  18. davidnotcoulthard
    1st December 2012, 9:08

    The white phones in the photo suprised me – they look like cigar boxes!

  19. Given how the drivers seem able to multi task electronics while driving these days perhaps the teams could consider installing a small screen with PayPal capability in the cockpit. If a driver makes a great overtake, a great correction after a slide or a spectacular move fans could send a donation to that drivers fund!! Everybody wins – underrated driver, fans of that driver and spectators. Before you ask – you wouldn’t be able to ask for refunds from the crash meisters

  20. Nico Hulkenberg bring his own sponsor to Sauber.
    Who said Nico Hulkenberg doesn’t bring sponsor to Sauber?
    I believe Nico Hulkenberg move to Sauber was wrong because Force India car is always better than Sauber car but Force India will be more stronger than 2012 car in 2013. All teams are starting understanding about Peril Tyres now. Also James Key wasn’t at Sauber anymore. You can’t tell James Key didn’t contribute Sauber car strong performance in 2012. You can see after half season Perez car was a bit slow down even Perez car was always top condition.
    Let see how Sauber cars are competitive and consistency in 2013.
    Also if Nico Hulkenberg was received Kobayashi’s garage and team members and then Nico Hulkenberg will regret for moving to Sauber.
    Mexican sponsor will make sure their driver get good garage and team members left by Perez.
    It’s interesting to wait and see situation at McLaren, Sauber and Force India next year.
    Force India will beat Sauber in 2013.

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