Kobayashi dismayed by sway of sponsors

Kamui Kobayashi admits he is disillusioned with the current trend of drivers securing Formula One seats through their sponsorship links.

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The Japanese driver's future at Sauber remains uncertain despite his brilliant drive to third place at his home race last weekend.

In the current economic climate it is not simply a driver's talent that determines whether he will get a seat in motorsport's top echelon.

With teams keen to attract new sponsors, a driver able to bring substantial personal funding becomes difficult to turn down.

Kobayashi, however, does not have a personal sponsor to help him in that regard and he admits he is frustrated that performances on the track are not the sole barometer of his merits.

He said: "I think a sponsor could help myself to be here next year, but at the moment I have no sponsors to be here.

"It's a very strange feeling for me to find a sponsor to drive for another team or here.

"Money is very important, but I really want to be 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.

"But maybe we are missing something, a driver 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 the way a driver should be.

"So I'm a little bit surprised, but I'll try to stay in Formula One next year and try to show what I can do for the rest of the season."

And the 26-year-old admits it is difficult for him to secure backing with the likes of Honda and Toyota not currently in F1 after pulling out at the end of 2008 and 2009 respectively, although there are rumours Honda could return when the new engine regulations kick in in 2014.

He said: "If there's no Japanese car manufacturers in Formula One then it's difficult, because the car manufacturers are the biggest companies in Japan.

"I would be happy if they (Honda) come back but we will see if I am here or not."

Esteban Gutierrez is thought likely to replace fellow Mexican Sergio Perez, who will join McLaren as Lewis Hamilton's replacement in 2013, at Sauber as the team have several Mexican sponsors.

Nico Hulkenberg has also being strongly linked with the Swiss team, a move that would leave Kobayashi out in the cold.

When asked if he remained confident of keeping his seat despite his lack of sponsorship, Kobayashi added: "If it happens like that then this is Formula One, it is destiny, no?"



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