If you’re an F1 fan, chances are excellent that you’ve noticed how confident and talented F1 newcomer Kamui Kobayashi has been. Filling in at Toyota for the injured Timo Glock both at Interlagos and at Yas Marina Circuit during the last two races of the 2009 season, Kobayashi has been nothing short of impressive. Making it clear that he’s willing to drive to the limit and take the fight to whomever he’s on track with (world champion or not), and yet handily avoiding many perilous rookie mistakes that have felled other good drivers before him, Kobayashi is clearly a force to be reckoned with in F1.
And yet, despite all this, we may not see him next year. Why? If you’re an F1 fan, you probably already know why. Follow the jump to see if you’re right.
Toyota F1′s budget has historically been announced at the same time that the main Toyota headquarters in Japan finalizes their budget. For the coming year, this is scheduled to take place on November 15th. Autosport reported on November 1st that this would continue to be the case for this year.
However, Toyota’s been cagey on whether or not they intend to stay in Formula One for the foreseeable future. It’s anyone’s guess as to what they’ll ultimately decide, but other reports have surfaced that claim an official announcement from Toyota could be coming as soon as Sunday, November 8th—a full week before the scheduled board meeting. Given their source, it’s difficult to say with certainty that this is, in fact, the case—but if it is, it’s indeed an alarming turn of events for the 23 year old driver.
Kobayashi has gone on record as saying he’s got no budget to go back to GP2 next year, so if he doesn’t secure a drive with Toyota, chances are excellent he’ll end up working in his dad’s sushi restaurant rather than racing. There are certainly far worse things in the world, but with the level of talent he’s shown, it would be truly unfortunate if Kobayashi was denied a chance to further prove himself in F1. Plenty of drivers have had a longer time to showcase their talents and have done far less than Kobayashi managed in just two races. Finishing in the points ahead of Trulli at Abu Dhabi? Surely that’s got to count for something.
To bide your time whilst waiting for the formal announcement, why not check out this Q+A Autosport did with Kobayashi? Sure, it won’t take more than a few minutes to read it, but you can spend the rest of those long, lonely hours between now and then fervently crossing your fingers that Kobayashi has a drive in F1 next year.