• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Kobayashi 'confident' he will get a drive in 2013

ESPN Staff
November 1, 2012 « Di Resta surprised by Hulkenberg move | McLaren confident it has left soft tyre struggle in India »
Kamui Kobayashi says his podium in Japan has helped create interest from sponsors © Press Association
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Kamui Kobayahsi says he is "confident" he will remain in Formula One next year after some positive talks with sponsors in his native Japan.

Kobayashi could be elbowed out of Sauber in 2013 now that Nico Hulkenberg has signed a one-year deal and test driver Esteban Gutierrez is in the running to be promoted to keep the team's Mexican backers happy. Kobayashi has had a strong season, with a podium in Japan the highlight, and he is confident he will continue in F1 in 2013 despite his narrowing options.

"We have to work hard to get next year's seat and I'm pretty confident for my seat, for sure," he said. "We need to focus for the rest of the three races, but we don't have many [options for] seats [left] so this is also another big question. I will try to focus on both together, for results and also to get a seat at another team or the same team, I don't know.

Asked what made him confident, Kobayashi said: "It's a feeling! Actually I have nothing, but it's just a feeling. I can't explain it but I think it's better. We will have to see, we still have the last three races and if we have some good results maybe something can happen. I believe and I try to focus. The feeling for next year is just feeling."

However, Kobayashi did reveal that he had been in some encouraging talks with potential sponsors in Japan off the back of his Suzuka podium.

"I think after Suzuka that Japan is more interested in motorsport and especially Formula One," he added. "I think if we have a little more time we can find more sponsors from Japan and after Suzuka we had a lot of contact from a couple of companies. It's very difficult to judge what I can talk about, because I've not decided a team and I don't know the budget so I have no idea. This is a very difficult moment but I think in a little moment I can find quite a lot of sponsors and definitely we see a lot of good signs after Suzuka. My preference is to bring a sponsor from Japan to make F1 more popular in Japan."