Kamui Kobayashi

Of all the drivers in the Formula One fraternity, Kamui Kobayashi (小林 可夢偉) seems to be one of the most difficult to work out.

Formula One fans love watching him, and he's famed for overtaking, but he does less overtaking than many drivers out on the field. He's rarely been defensively punchy other than his début in Brazil in 2009.

His GP2 record is less than exceptional. He would never have got into Formula One if he was a different nationality.

I think Kobayashi must be praised, but not for the usual reasons. What is outstanding is that given the opportunity, he picks up points. He did so at Abu Dhabi in 2009, for much of the latter half of 2010 and his run of points scores in 2011 (not counting his dsq in Australia) was longer than anyone's bar Button, Webber and Vettel. Excellent strategic decisions from his advisors in Spa and Valencia in 2010 and in Monaco and Canada in 2011 have seen excellent finishes.

Martin Brundle's favourite word when referring to Kobayashi is the typical "banzai", which refers to punchy Japanese drivers. I would argue that Kobayashi is less banzai than some of his less than illustrious predecessors, and thus more able to finish Grands Prix, and well placed to become the best driver that Grand Prix racing Japan has ever produced.
The only troubling thing, from my perspective, is his inability to dominate the likes de la Rosa and Perez and Heidfeld in qualifying. Signs that he might have a tough time up against the young guns at the sharp end.

We don't know Perez's quality yet...but we do know that the other two were/are not Ace material.

The Toyota was a Podium-level car in late '09 and we don't know what a Vettel or a Hamilton could extract from this Sauber.

For all we know the Sauber could be a very good car but with two Number 2 drivers in them.
I always thought he was overhyped after 2009, and I thought I was proven right halfway into 2010, but then he suddenly turned his season around and impressed me.

His qualifying doesn't seem to be as good for a top line driver as Ray points out, but he is always capable of pulling a result.

He has been very quiet this season it has to be said, I hope he gets into a better car soon.

I have to say, he has turned me into a fan of his, hats off to the lad :goodday:
I have to say, he has turned me into a fan of his...

Yes. I'm obviously a fan. I left my seat when the rain poured down in Montreal...but there I was at the Senna Hairpin barriers watching him circulating with Massa right on his tail for a number of laps. He was 2nd at the the time with only Vettel ahead ... and I was smiling at the prospect of a first Podium for Koba during those laps. So, yes, I like Koba but I don't think he's a Number 1. Having said that, I do think he's the best Japanese F1 driver ever.
His Quali is better than you think it is because he's consistant. More often than not Kobi will qualify 12th or 13th as that is the potential that the Sauber car has.

What Kamui has always been good at - and we saw it in only his second grand prix in 2009 - is following a strategy to the letter and making it work. I think this is one of the reason Peter Sauber loves having him there - if you've got someone you know will respond exactly how you want them too it means you can take more risks with strategy which is exactly what a team like Sauber need to do to get results above their station. Valencia 2010 was a massive example of this - as was Japan 2010.

As for his 'unpunchy defence' I think you should have a look at who he's defending against. I think Kobi has very smartly realised there is no point defending so hard against a faster car that you end up either damaging your car or ruining your strategy. Esepcially with the DRS stuff at the moment. I think Kobi was smart enough to learn this after a rough first half of the season in 2010 - some drivers still need to learn it *ahem Schumacher*. The defenses you need to look at are when is neccesary for his race to stay in front - i.e keeping Button behind him in Valencia 2010 and Massa behind him at Canada 2011.

Also you say he wouldn't have got in to the sport if he wasn't Japanese - you might have a point but I shall point out to you that his junior formula record is better than Buemi's and d'Ambrosio and there still here.

I don't think Kamui is a future world champion but I do think that given the right car he could be a race winner - will he ever get that oppotunity? I have to say I doubt it but you can hope.

As for being the most succesful Japanese driver - that was officially Takuma Sato with 1 podium and 44 points - I know Kamui already has 60 points but think he's behind if you convert Sato's points to new system. Don't think it'll take him too long though - he's far more reg points finisher than Sato ever was
Sato had a superior car mostly (other than Koba's 2009 Toyota for two races) and had full backing from Honda for a reasonable bit of time.

You're right, Koba has, thus far, been way more consistent than Taku ever was.

Koba has been an 'ok' qualifier...but not exceptional. As I said, I'd like to see him out-qualifying Perez. Having said that, Perez could be a future world champion in the making...We don't know yet. If so, then Koba's not doing too badly in qually.

Time will tell.
Its a big weekend for Kamui after Pérez got on top in the last two races, imo.

Then again, maybe if he hadn't retired in Britain...
Aside from a couple of lunges that have come off when he's had a tyre advantage, I've not been all that impressed with Kobayashi to be honest. I certainly don't rate him above Takuma Sato (who has scored a pole position in IndyCar this season, let us not forget). A solid driver, but I don't think any of the front-line teams would ever take a punt on giving him a drive - he'll be forever mired in the midfield, unless he lucks into a Brawn-type advantage.

Plus he's got Dwayne Dibley's teeth...:twisted:
Oh dear RoB and usually we agree on so much but I have to strongly argue back at you here. Takuma Sato? really?

Sat came in to the sport in 2002 and was put to the sword by Fisichella 7 points to 2

In 2004 Button acheived 10 podium finishes and 85 points. In the exact same car Takuma managed 1 podium finish and 34 points. The following season Sato managed 1 point whilst Button scored 37 with 10 points finishes in the last 10 races.

It was after that he was dropped from Honda and basically had the Super Aguri team set up to save his F1 career. He did manage a couple of points finishes in 2007 which were impressive but as Super Aguri were running the 2006 Honda car(which was a race winner lets not forget) I would have expected more.

Kobayashi on the other hand after a couple of races of being pushed by Toyota is actually in F1 due to his performances and not nationality. He's proven time and time again that if you give him the equiptment and the strategy he'll get you a result. Maybe he's not a super flare driver(although he has his moments) but Kobi has consistantly got that Sauber in the points this year with only failing to score in 3 races and one of them was only because of a DQ. If you think that the Sauber is probably only the 6th fastest car(although arguably they're in front of Renault now) on the grid thats some going.
I've quoted before what Stirling Moss said at the beginning of 2010... 'I think Kobayashi will be world champion one day-he's just got something about him...' I think he's brilliant, and his overtaking skill tends to overshadow his ability to carry out a strategy. He's consistently scoring points, out-raced two experienced teammates last year, and has an edge on the very impressive Perez this year. He was nowhere in GP2, but won titles in GP2 Asia, Italian and European Formula Renault, for what it's worth. But, in any case, if winning in junior formulae meant a lot, Andre Lotterer or Pantano or Justin Wilson would be winning Grands Prix, and Heidfeld or Sato would be world champ. Webber has never won a title in any form of car racing. And, if beating highly ranked teammates meant a lot, Heidfeld could be a multiple WDC; didn't he, in various years, outscore Alesi, Massa, Raikkonen, Webber, and Kubica in the same car?

He scored a point from last on the grid in Turkey, and gave Perez a minute's head start having had to pit early in Spain, and finished right behind him. Ummm... my point is, I think Kobayashi has that magic that the real stars have. He's well rounded, a decent qualifier, pretty good in the wet, but scores lots of points and doesn't seem to make a lot of mistakes, certainly not in races. On the points table, beyond the drivers in the top 5 teams, is Kobayashi in 11th, well ahead of both Force India/Torro Rosso/Williams and Perez. Last year it took him 7 races to score, yet he ended up 12th in the points. I've been watching F1 closely since the 70's, and I absolutely believe he's front rank, at least as good as Kubica. I think he's currently doing the fourth best job out of anyone on the grid, behind Vettel/Lewis/Alonso. I think he lives up to the hype.
It's a matter of personal preference I suppose Raspy - I always liked Sato from when I saw him in F3 demolishing Ant Davidson to pulling off that unlikely overtake on Alonso at Canada in the Super Aguri. Just because he didn't bring home all the possible results he could when with BAR doesn't mean he's "worse" or that Kobayashi is "better". I liked Takuma - something in his spirit or attitude appealed to me. I just don't get that feeling with Kobayashi is all. And I stand by my assertion that he will never get a top drive on merit alone...:goodday:
He's consistently scoring points

Shame that Schumacher in the superior Mercedes GP piled into the back of Koba's Sauber in that clumsy attempt at Silverstone otherwise the young jap would have scored more points.

Oopps! Did I say young jap?

I meant young chap! :snigger:

And I stand by my assertion that he will never get a top drive on merit alone...:goodday:

...and if he does, will you eat that hat? ;)
Yes Ray...It's a Homberger...:thankyou:

Well, it's easy to say that given that your Homburg is made out of Hamburger, RoB. :D It would be much tougher to make that prognostication against Koba if it were made out of fabric.


Is it made out of Koba Beef, your Homberger? ;)


Don't be surprised if Koba's Sizzling Hot performances make Mince Meat out of your prediction!
I really don't see why Kobs, given a top car can't be WC one day
His potential might even tempt one of the top Japanese companies like Toyota or Honda back in, spending money wisely and try take on the world like they did with road cars
They (Toyota) were useless as a constructor. They were a money burning machine. Also, Honda chose the wrong guy to run their efforts as a constructor: Nick Fry!

Honda (and to some extent, Toyota) would be better off coming back as an engine supplier instead of being arrogant enough to think they can beat the sharp minds of Formula One.

If Perez is being talked about as a future Ferrari driver, why would Kobayashi be discounted from being able to get a similar drive elsewhere?
Formula One fans love watching him, and he's famed for overtaking, but he does less overtaking than many drivers out on the field.

It's the way he overtakes that makes me like him, he remind me alittle like Hamilton. He finds the little spots to dart into and overtake his opponents. His overtake on Alonso in Valencia last year was probably the best one i've seen from him.
I really hope he continues to impress and one day he'll find himself in a top team as i think he has what it takes to win!
The RA-109 wasn't a bad car though.....

...but it didn't have a Honda engine, though. The Mercedes-Benz engine was the best in the field and even the Force India was a potential winner with it at Spa. Still, it was a good car, made better by an astute reading of the Double Diffuser loopholes by Ross Brawn. But who is to say it would have been the same car if it had a Honda engine in it...

Off topic...so I'd rather end it by saying Honda "funded" one good chassis (which was made into a very good one thanks to Brawn finding a loophole) but "made" several shit ones.
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