Kamui Kobayashi loses Sauber seat for 2013

2013 F1 season

Kamui Kobayashi, Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Yas Marina, 2012The confirmation of Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber for 2013 leaves current driver Kamui Kobayashi without a seat for next year.

Gutierrez’s team mate will be Nico Hulkenberg, as was confirmed last month.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn paid tribute to Kobayashi: “Over the last three years Kamui has shown us he is not only a fierce competitor on the track, but also a wonderful person and fantastic team player.

“Every member of our team has the greatest respect for him, and his podium in Japan was a particularly emotional moment for all of us. This has not been an easy decision for us to take, but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning and our time with Kamui will come to an end after the final two races of the season.

“We wish Kamui all the best for the future. Our thanks also go to Sergio Perez, who has claimed three podiums for the team so far and now has the opportunity at McLaren-Mercedes to display his immense talent with one of the most successful teams in Formula One history. We would also like to wish Sergio all the best and every success for the future.”

Kobayashi joined Sauber in 2010 (when it was still BMW Sauber) after making his F1 debut for Toyota in the last two races of 2009.

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97 comments on Kamui Kobayashi loses Sauber seat for 2013

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  1. dennis (@dennis) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:09

    Shame. I really enjoyed his attitude and funny interviews. I hope he finds a cockpit soon!

    • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 23rd November 2012, 15:14

      Agree. On the other hand, he wasn’t very stable racer. But! we may say the same about his teammate Sergio.
      I wish he earns 5-th position for his team in this race. That would be pecfect for his chances to stay in F1 next year.

    • davidnotcoulthard said on 23rd November 2012, 16:04

      I really enjoyed his Toyota drives…and I still recall seeing him running 5th (either in the race or qualy)….in Brazil!

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:12

    All skill aside.

    Is it just me, or does Gutierrez look like a 17 year old?

  3. Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:17

    It is sad to see this happen. Is PĂ©rez better than Kobayashi? Yes, that’s the quick conclusion we can draw from this season results. Is he so much better that Kobayashi needs to be kicked out of the grid while PĂ©rez gets a drive with McLaren? No way in hell.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:18

    Also, i think that it would be more… Ethical, for lack of a better word, if teams would announce their next years driver line ups a little earlier in the year, so that the drivers that do get dropped have some more time to figure out what they’re going to do next.

    Certainly not an easy business. Feel for those that lose their seats, but at the same time… thats just Formula 1.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:56

      Most of the drivers who get dropped will have been in discussions with multiple teams throughout the season (unless nobody wants them enough to even enter into discussions).

  5. michel said on 23rd November 2012, 11:20

    what a disgrace

    think i am about done with f1, i cannot believe with the amounts of money going around someone like Kobayashi needs to pay for his seat.

    i hope they fail miserably next year.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd November 2012, 13:57

      Don’t be ridiculous, hate the system, not the team.

      • David (@neiana) said on 23rd November 2012, 15:25

        Hate the player not the game?

        • David (@neiana) said on 23rd November 2012, 15:26

          Don’t hate the player, hate the game. **

          • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 23rd November 2012, 21:39

            But Sauber haven’t exactly been fair in this situation either.

            Their statement of a few days ago basically throws him under the bus, I don’t have it. Right now, but it was along the lines of “we don’t need money, and it will be decided by on track performances”

            I.e if we don’t sign him, he wasn’t good enough.

            Which team is going to pick up a driver without sponsorship, who was effectively dumped by his team?

    • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 23rd November 2012, 15:55

      Don’t hate the player or the game, when its all said and done we’re the ones to blame. It’s the fans that crave controversy, it gives us something to debate over a cup of tea. We all love it, this merry-go-round, while trying to second guess Pirelli’s choice of tyre compound. There’s nothing you can do, the system is what it is…even if it does take the ****!

  6. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:21


  7. duncanmonza (@duncanmonza) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:25

    This is such a shame. Kobayashi is undoubtedly the most talented driver in Formula 1.

  8. This is such a shocking development. The sport’s gonna miss all those fierce battles and overtakes!!!

  9. thatscienceguy said on 23rd November 2012, 11:28

    Calling it now – Kobayashi will be with Toyota in the WEC.

    I suspect Kovalainen will be in WEC too, not sure with who though.

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:31

    It will be a real shame if this is the end of Kobayashi’s F1 career.

    As @Slr said in yesterday’s Comment of the Day it doesn’t seem right that of the two Sauber drivers, currently separated by eight points in the championship, one joins McLaren and the other may end up without a seat at all.

    If Kobayashi is on his way out of F1, I hope he considers a switch to IndyCar. I think his attitude and driving style would be a perfect fit.

    • sumedhvidwans (@sumedhvidwans) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:37

      Agree. But I don’t think that the points scored by Perez and Kobayashi are proof that Kamui should be in F1. For example, Maldonado and Senna have roughly the same number of points, but I don’t think anyone will feel that their driving talents are even on the same plane.

      • How so? I consider them pretty equal. One can be lightning fast at times, but is extremely unstable, the other is pretty stable, but apparently needs to press a bit harder.

        I can’t say that any of them is better than the other.

    • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:46

      He should totally go to IndyCar, and as @ajokay pointed out on Twitter, putting the 2 of them on the same team and calling it Team BANZAI! would be a stroke of genius.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:53

        That would be amazing! Sadly I doubt he will be able to find the budget to get a full time drive there either. Just yesterday I had a look at the confirmed cars/drivers for next year and a lot of it is “pending on finding enough money”, even if 4-8 million could well be enough for IndyCars instead of apparently bringing about 10 million for a seat in a team like Caterham, Marussia.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd November 2012, 12:15

          @BasCB IndyCar budgets are quite a bit less than that aren’t they?

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2012, 13:40

            That’s what I thought as well @keithcollantine, but it seems its about 2-3 million to get things together in an end of grid team, and about 4-7 million to get a somewhat competitive drive currently (one of the drives commented on that recently, I will have a look at where I found that one later).

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2012, 13:52

            I guess its in here in this article on speed

            If one thing has become apparent during this off-season, it’s that if the IndyCar Series can find ways to reduce a competitive operating budget from a minimum of $5 million per entry to something in the $3 million range, its teams would be overflowing with funded drivers. 30-car grids would be a common sight.

          • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 23rd November 2012, 14:44

            @bascb 30 car grids would be a beautiful sight! Although some tracks would need to seriously consider extending their pit lane…

    • If Kobayashi is on his way out of F1, I hope he considers a switch to IndyCar. I think his attitude and driving style would be a perfect fit.

      I would watch IndyCar race by race next year if that happened. Right now, my interest in IndyCar is casual.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 23rd November 2012, 19:45

      Ill be glad if he gets a seat in some form of top end motorsport. I remember him saying in an interview in his first Sauber year that the seat saved him having to go back to Japan to work in his dad’s sushi restaurant.

  11. sumedhvidwans (@sumedhvidwans) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:31

    our time with Kamui will come to an end after the final two races of the season.

    But only one race remains in the season. Are these quotes from Austin?

    • Just wanted to post this, I think they knew that KOB will be out of the team before Austin, but waited with the announcement, and forgot to rewrite the statement.

      • Oli Campbell said on 23rd November 2012, 11:42

        Yup. Spotted that gaff too. I think all things considered, if you know the fate of a driver its only decent to announce it sooner than later. It must have such a demoralizing effect on them. For example look at Sutil. I am personally glad Hulkenberg replaced him (so it would shut the British media up when Di Resta didnt wipe the floor with him), but it was so awkward when sutil interviewed and knew he was being replaced but there was no announcement.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:44

          it would shut the British media up when Di Resta didnt wipe the floor with him

          I can’t speak for anyone else but I’m British and this is my website and I certainly didn’t write anything like that.

          • DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 23rd November 2012, 14:15

            I think he was talking more about the mainstream media like BBC/Sky and the various tabloids that believe just because di Resta beat Vettel a few years ago, he’s suddenly deserving of a seat at *insert top team here*

            Don’t get me wrong, Paul is talented but he has been beaten by Sutil and Hulkenberg, who was out of the sport for one year.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2012, 12:01

          I think you are wrong on account of Kamui not being informed. Telling the media is someting quite a bit different from telling the drivers.

          Just watch back what Kamui says at the podium ceremony in Japan. To me it was pretty clear he knew before that moment about not being kept on for next year.

          Guttierez was being rumoured to replace Perez as soon as Perez got the McLaren seat. And even before that Sauber was clearly talking to many drivers about the second seat as well.

  12. Hairs (@hairs) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:32

    “This was a difficult decision”.

    How so? The team needs money, they’re running a Mexican sponsor, and therefore they have a Mexican driver. It’s not difficult, complicated, or unexpected. If Sauber ran Toyota engines, Kamui would stay, and The Hulk would still be in force India. The comment seems heartfelt, but the fans really shouldn’t be fooled.

  13. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:35

    Sad to see F1 throwing all that enthusiastic Japanese support in the bin – they were amazing scenes at Suzuka. There must be no money in it for Bernie, or he’d be helping another team make a deal with Kobayashi.

    There must be a curse on the front row at Spa – Fisichella stuck an unfancied car there (on pole!) and found himself out of F1 a few months later. A bit different, I know, as he had a nice job with Ferrari and AF Corse to look forward to.

  14. What a load of crap, far too many pay driver rookies on the grid next year who have not yet proven themselves, at the expense of good drivers who should not be pushed out yet.
    Monisha had made this decision a long time ago, the procrastinating has ******* Kobyashi’s ability to decisively take a seat elsewhere, same with Heikki.

  15. James (@jamesf1) said on 23rd November 2012, 11:37

    As has been said many times before, F1 has no room for sentiment. The team needed to keep the Mexican funding and this would have been the only way to ensure it. The Hulk has a lot of work to do next year – familiarising himself with the team, the car and the engine. Having said that, I still think Hulkenburg can really drive the team forward and perhaps get them a win next year. The car is fundamently quick, and as the rules arent changing drastically, maybe he could take Sauber to their second victory.

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