Kamui Kobayashi ends bid for 2013 F1 drive

The Japanese driver was left without a berth after Sauber elected to go with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez

Kamui Kobayashi has conceded defeat in his battle to secure a seat on the Formula One grid in 2013.

The Japanese driver was left without a berth after Sauber elected to go with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez as their drivers for next season.

Kobayashi, who finished third at his home race at Suzuka in October, had set up a website where fans could donate money to help him secure the funding for a seat elsewhere, while also pursuing sponsorship from several Japanese companies.

But, despite raising over eight million euros, Kobayashi posted a message on the website on Monday evening where he said he was now focusing his efforts on finding an F1 drive in 2014.

His message to his fans on kamui-support.com read: "Since the donation started, it has become quite big news in Japan, and because of your big support, it had a big influence on some Japanese companies and I started receiving good support from them.

"I was in the position to bring a budget of eight million euros at least. If you could imagine the time I had, it was an overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.

"Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure a seat with a competitive F1 team for 2013.

"I have to admit that it is very sad and I feel sorry for the fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.

"I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I will start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014.

"My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014. I have no interest in racing in any other categories."

PA

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