Kobayashi: Sauber prospects improving

Autosport

Kamui Kobayashi is increasingly optimistic that he will hang on to his Sauber seat for the 2013 Formula 1 season.

Despite his Japanese Grand Prix podium, Kobayashi's F1 future has been uncertain in recent months, with pressure on him to find additional funding to retain his place.

His current team-mate Sergio Perez has already secured a McLaren drive for next year, with Nico Hulkenberg coming in from Force India to replace him. Sauber's current reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez has been mooted as Hulkenberg's most likely team-mate.

Click here for Jonathan Noble's assessment of whether Kobayashi should have got the McLaren drive

Although Kobayashi would not be drawn on whether he had found sufficient sponsor backing to bring himself back into 2013 contention, he told reporters in the Austin paddock that his prospects were improving.

"I'm confident. There's no change but I think it will be OK. I think the situation is better than before," Kobayashi said.

He underlined that nothing was yet sealed, but that he was happy things were moving in the right direction.

"Money-wise and everything, I think it's getting better. But we'll see," he said.

Kobayashi said he was now putting thoughts of his 2013 status to the back of his mind and focusing on finishing the 2012 campaign as competitively as possible. The Japanese driver took sixth place last time out in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm just focused on these two races and we'll see if we can announce something or not," he said.

"I'm not really worried for my future. I'm just trying to focus on my job.

"I think it's very important to try to finish in good shape and that's it."

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