F1’s ‘silly season’ enjoyed a final flourish today with the announcement by Kamui Kobayashi that he had ‘given up’ hope of finding a seat in the sport for 2013 after Force India indicated they were looking elsewhere for a second driver to partner Paul Di Resta.
Kobayashi’s fans had collected almost £6.5 million toward helping the Japanese secure a drive but the 26 year old eventually conceded his career must go on-hold for the time being.
‘Since the donations started, it has become quite big news in Japan. And because of your big support, it gave huge influences to some of Japanese companies and I started receiving good support from them.’
‘Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with a competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and I feel sorry for fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.’
Elsewhere , Lotus confirmed Romain Grosjean will remain alongside Kimi Raikkonen in the team’s line-up despite being branded a ‘first corner-nutcase’ by Mark Webber after a series of shunts in 2012.
‘I am very happy for all the support and confidence the team gave me,’ he said to the BBC F1 website.
‘I will try to do my best and improve from where I am now and score a lot of points for both of us.’
Britain also had cause for celebration after the announcement came from Anglo-Russian team Marussia that Max Chilton would be driving for the outfit in 2013; at only 21 he finished 4th in the 2012 GP2 series with two race victories. The move means four Brits will take to the grid in Melbourne with Chilton aiming to follow in the footsteps of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta.
Only one seat remains up for grabs on the 2013 field and that is the second seat alongside Di Resta at Force India, Adrian Sutil expected to return to the team that he drove for between 2007 and 2011 before criminal charges necessitated his removal from the squad in 2012.