Kobayashi relishing first home race

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kamui Kobayashi got to drive in front of his home crowd for Toyota during practice at Suzuka last year.

This time he will get to race in front of them as he prepares to start his first home Grand Prix for Sauber next week.

He said:

Returning to race in Japan as a Formula One driver means a lot to me.

I had a taste of it last year when I stepped in for Timo Glock at Toyota for the Friday practice sessions. This was at short notice, but for this year?s race a lot of supporters are going to be there.

There has been a ??Kamui Kobayashi?? fans corner set up between turns two and three. It has more than 2,000 seats and has been sold out for quite a while. I managed to buy tickets for friends and I hope they will be having fun.

He explained that life for an aspiring racing driver in Japan was very different to one growing up in Europe:

It is huge and I think this is because Europe has all the history in motor racing. You have plenty of smaller racing series which provide for good driver development.

Anyone who has attended a Japanese Formula One Grand Prix knows about the excitement and passion the people have for it. But it is also true it is not easy for Japanese people to follow Formula One because the European races are broadcast live relatively late at night.

I rather wanted to become a comedian ?ǣ Amagasaki is quite popular for Japanese comedians. But I found I wasn?t talented enough.

My parents were not at all interested in racing. They still don?t own a road car. I bought myself a car twice, but both times my father sold it. He runs a Sushi delivery shop in Amagasaki. Most likely if I hadn?t been quick in karting perhaps I would have become a sushi chef. But I hate raw fish.

I didn?t do a lot of racing in Japan and the last race was long ago. It was in 2003 with Formula Toyota on the short track in Suzuka, not on the Grand Prix circuit. I was 17 years old then.

Of course it was strange when I first came to Europe, actually to Vicenza in Italy, because I didn?t even speak English and everything was completely different. But it was also a lot of fun!

This seems to be very difficult to understand for Europeans, but for Japanese it is not that unusual to leave your family and go to work elsewhere. Even when I was doing things in Japan I rarely met my family.

Most times I went to Tokyo and they still live in Amagasaki, which is close to Osaka and quite far away from Tokyo. I always like to stay somewhere nice, but it doesn?t really matter which country it is.
Kamui Kobayashi

After posting his eighth retirement in 15 races at Singapore he’s hopeful of a better result at Suzuka:

After a good qualifying the outcome of the race in Singapore was, of course, disappointing for me. I hope in Suzuka we have reason to be happy on both Saturday and on Sunday. We all think the circuit should suit our car pretty well.
Kamui Kobayashi

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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