Kamui Kobayashi has thanked his fans and supporters who donated money at the end of 2012 to keep him in Formula One, revealing that the money has played a large part in his return to the sport with Caterham in 2014.
The Kamui Support fund was set up by fans in the wake of the announcement that the Japanese racer had lost his seat at Sauber at the end of 2012.
After Japanese companies became involved in the fund the total amount raised grew to around £6.5 million, but it proved to not be enough to get the popular 27-year-old back into Formula One, with Kobayashi instead joining Ferrari’s GT programme in the World Endurance Championship.
Despite the disappointment of the funds aim to get him back into F1 in 2013, the ex-Toyota man revealed that the money raised will now go towards supporting his drive at Caterham this year.
”I want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to Kamui Support,” Kobayashi said at his unveiling.
“Their donations and gestures gave me extra strength to come back fighting and I am very pleased that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year.
“Every single one of you who helped with Kamui Support will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud.”
Caterham’s Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul expressed his pleasure at the signing of Kobayashi, as the Leafield-based outfit prepare for what will be their fifth year in Formula One, citing the 27-year-olds extensive development experience as a particular perk.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Kamui back.”
“He is a very popular driver and it’s very good for the whole team we’ve been able to attract such an exciting driver to join us at a critical point in our development.
“His pace speaks for itself, and his extensive experience of developing cars, particularly in his years with Toyota, will be incredibly important for us as we tackle one of the most challenging seasons F1 has ever embarked upon.”
Image courtesy of Sauber Motorsport AG