Former F1 Driver Kobayashi Explains Turning Down Ferrari Contract in 2013

Published 03/31/2021, 7:10 AM EDT
SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 31: Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and France during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 31, 2019 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)


Kamui Kobayashi is a Japanese racing driver who debuted in Formula 1 in 2009 for Toyota. He claimed one career podium in F1 with a third-place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix and became the first Japanese driver to finish on the podium in 22 years.

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After Toyota, the Japanese driver also drove for Sauber and Caterham. After Sauber, he was on the sidelines for a year and did a little work with Ferrari. In a recent podcast, Kamui Kobayashi revealed that he was denied an extended role at Ferrari and joined Caterham.

“It was very difficult to decide. You know I was in the Ferrari but in the contract, there was no opportunity for being in a program for Formula 1, I can be in GT program, but not in Formula 1, maybe I can do some tests. But after 1 year, I have no much test, really.”

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“So I had no imagination that I will be racing in the Ferrari. That’s why I had another option, that is Caterham. It’s probably not a strong team but just being in Formula 1 racing, this was more realistic can be another option. I was betting on myself,” he said.

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Tsunoda could take the baton of exciting Japanese drivers like Kamui Kobayashi, hopes Ross Brawn

When Kamui Kobayashi finished on the podium at Suzuka in Japan, the grandstands were chanting his name in excitement. Ross Brawn, the F1 boss, hopes that Yuki Tsunoda will continue to be an exciting racer and maybe even boost the return of the Japanese Grand Prix.

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“We can all remember the glorious days of full grandstands at Suzuka and the passion of the Japanese fans. I think we are going to have that again, which is incredibly exciting.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 25, 2021 AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

“I’m really impressed with Yuki Tsunoda. I met him at the weekend for the first time and he’s a really impressive character. He is the best rookie F1 has had for years, having been fairly stunning in whatever series he has competed in,” said the F1 boss.

Yuki Tsunoda claimed his maiden F1 points in his debut race with AlphaTauri. He drove his AT21 to a P9 finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, he clarified he is hungry for a lot more and that this is just the beginning.

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Where do you think Tsunoda will take the Japanese drivers’ legacy in Formula 1?

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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