Date: 20th December 2012 at 8:57am
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The most successful Japanese driver of all time Kamui Kobayashi is set to sit out the 2013 Formula One World Championship.

Obviously we knew that he had lost his current drive for the Sauber team with a new line-up announced in the form of former Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, who steps up from being the teams test driver.

But we had not really expected Kobayashi to be squeezed entirely out of Formula One. Obviously there are limited seats available, but for a 26-year-old with the talent and experience of Kamui, it had been thought that he might find employment somewhere.

He even went on a fund raising mission in a bid to attempt to raise the funds to sweeten a deal with a new team, £6.5million was raised by Kobayashi supporters which just showed how popular the Japanese driver is, which should have also aided his bid to bring sponsorship to a new team.

However it appears to have all been in vein, on Monday Lotus announced they would retain Frenchman Romain Grosjean alongside Kimi Raikkonen, whilst Force India have been heavily linked with a return of German Adrian Sutil.

That just left the Caterham team who have also been heavily linked with the likes of former Williams driver Bruno Senna or possibly retaining Russian Vitaly Petrov.

Kobayashi officially conceded defeat on Tuesday with a message on his official website.

‘I was in the position to bring a budget of 8 million Euro at least. If you could imagine the time I had, it was overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.’ he wrote on kamui-kobayashi.com.

‘Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and feel sorry for fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.

‘I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014.


Kamui Kobayashi Profile

Debut: 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

Races: 60

Podiums: 1

Best Finish: 2012 Japanese Grand Prix

He finished 12th in the Formula One World Championship in all three of his full seasons in F1.

 

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