Kobayashi frustrated with Caterham situation
Kamui Kobayashi says he is unhappy with the way he has been treated by the Caterham team in recent weeks.
The Japanese racer was dropped in favour of three time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, despite the German’s lack of contemporary Formula 1 experience, Lotterer having last tested an F1 car 12 years earlier.
Kobayashi is back in the seat for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, but will hand over his car for opening practice to 23-year-old Formula Renault racer Roberto Merhi.
Caterham had planned on running Merhi for the entire weekend, but troubles obtaining a SuperLicense for the Spanish youngster meant the team had to turn to Kobayashi to fill the seat, a situation the 27-year-old confessed to the media on Thursday that had left him feeling frustrated.
“It’s not an easy situation,” Kobayashi said. “I am here for the sport of racing, but looking at the last couple of weeks I think it’s more political stuff happening than sport.
“We’ve had talks with lawyers and this is what we have right now. I have a contract. I am a Caterham driver and it’s not up to me. If they say simulator I do simulator, if they say stay at home I stay at home, if they say race I race.
“Of course I’m not happy but this I cannot avoid.”
Kobayashi revealed that he had only found out that he was being dropped for the Belgian Grand Prix at late notice, with the call to rejoin Caterham in Monza only coming late on Wednesday.
“Before Spa I was in the factory, we did some simulator work, I was ready to race, but just before coming to Spa they decided I wouldn’t race.
“I was still at Spa, just not at the track. I didn’t want to come to the track. I wanted to avoid trouble.
“It was not clear what happened in the team and I had nothing to say. They didn’t tell me a reason, just that I wasn’t driving.”
Asked whether the situation would have been any different if for the team’s new Swiss and Middle Eastern owners, Kobayashi said: “It’s difficult to compare; the situation is different. If the management didn’t change maybe the team wouldn’t be racing?
“I don’t know the situation really, things are not clear. If they want to survive they need to do something and I think this is what they are doing.
“I think we need to look for other opportunities but let’s see what we can do.”
Image courtesy of Caterham F1 Team
Dan Paddock is an FIA accredited freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist and the Grand Prix Editor of Richland F1. Dan joined the site in July 2013 as a Staff Writer, fresh off the back of completing a master’s degree in journalism. Following a promotion, Dan has since gone on to represent Richland F1 at four grands prix. Aside from Richland F1, Dan also writes for Rumble Strip News, as well as maintaining his own modest blog.