Kamui Kobayashi insists his focus for the opening round of the new F1 season next weekend is to secure a result that will provide the people of Japan with some ‘positive news’.
Japan is still reeling from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck a week ago, leaving more than 6,000 people dead with more than 10,000 still listed as missing.
The country is also dealing with a number of explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with the incident at the stricken plant having been raised from four to five on a seven-point international danger scale – putting it just two levels below the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine back in 1986.
With his nation in crisis, Kobayashi admitted that he was determined to try and secure a strong result in Australia in order to give his countrymen ‘a little bit of hope and positive news’ at a time when the situation is ‘just too awful’.
“Of course I was very worried about my country and so went to Japan after the Barcelona test,” the Sauber ace said. “I must say the situation is really, really bad. So many have lost their lives, become homeless, are without food and water in the cold winter, and have lost their loved ones. It is difficult to believe that a scenario worse than in any movie has become reality.
“We need to stay together and we need help from all over the world. I am worried the whole country could disappear – it is just too awful. Since the earthquake and the tsunami news is getting worse every day, there is nothing positive to look forward to at the moment. I feel I have to do something, I want to help – but in fact there is nothing I can do by myself.
“I think at least for the time being what I can do is to be focused and fully concentrate on the season’s opening race in Melbourne. Originally I was looking forward to this with great joy. Now what I really want to do is my very best to achieve a good result, which perhaps can at least give the people in Japan a little bit of hope and positive news.”
Technical director James Key added that the team would do everything it could to support Kobayashi in what is set to be one of the most difficult weekends of his F1 career to date.
“We will go with the specification of the car that we finished the Barcelona test with, with some final refinements to it after what we learned from that test,” he said. “Kamui doesn’t have to learn the track, so it will be more a case of car set up and general performance work for him. Particularly on Friday, it will be important to find the right direction.
“Considering the events in Japan, we know this will be a very difficult weekend for Kamui, but everybody in the team will give him all possible support.”