Kamui Kobayashi was chosen as a driver by Sauber this year after two impressive races in a Toyota at Brazil and Abu Dhabi in 2009, but the Japanese driver has had a difficult start to the season in an unreliable car which seems to attract trouble.
Kobayashi has been the innocent victim of accidents this season, which have forced him to retire from five out of the first six races. He finished tenth in Turkey last weekend though, picking up Sauber’s first point of the 2010 campaign.
“The team did a really good job that weekend [in Turkey],” said Kobayashi, whose teammate Pedro de la Rosa finished just behind him but out of the points. “We had some very difficult situations in the previous races, so it was really nice to bring both cars home in Istanbul and get this point. But it is only a single point, and that is not something we should be satisfied with. It can only be the first step.”
Kobayashi also qualified in the top ten in Istanbul, a feat he had achieved on two previous occasions already this season. He ranks this as a better achievement than a points finish. “Qualifying means more to me because it shows my true performance. In a race you can always benefit from somebody else's misfortune or have an issue yourself. That makes the race result something different.
“Qualifying is about pure performance, and I think if we get everything right we always have a chance to get into the final qualifying session.”
“Sometimes it was not easy to dispel bad memories, like the accident that happened in Melbourne after I lost the front wing, but motivation has never been a problem,” says Kobayashi, talking about the disappointing start to his first full season in Formula 1. “I love going racing and our targets were always realistic. We wanted to score points and we're not dreaming about winning races the next day.”
“Canada will be a new track for me,” says the rookie driver, focus on the challenges that lie ahead in the coming weeks. “I don't even know it from the simulator and so have to learn it in free practice. Obviously other drivers will have an advantage here, but I don't see it as a problem.
“In general I feel we are now on the right path. The way we work together and are attuned to each other has improved, and it was so nice to see the mechanics in Istanbul smiling for the first time after the race! Until then I had only seen disappointed faces on Sunday nights.
“With this positive feeling, that everybody will now pick up on, and our improvements to the car, I'm sure we will be doing better in the future.”