Kobayashi on standby at Toyota
|By Edd Straw and Jonathan Noble||Saturday, October 3rd 2009, 08:18 GMT|
Kamui Kobayashi is on standby to make his Formula 1 debut in tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix if Timo Glock is unfit to race after injuring his legs in a qualifying crash.
Toyota is hopeful that the German will be able to start the race - with a decision expected either late tonight or early on Sunday morning - but team president John Howett confirmed that he will seek permission for GP2 race-winner Kobayashi, who drove during both Friday practice sessions, to compete if required.
The regulations state that a driver may not participate in the race if they do not run during Saturday morning's P3 session, but Toyota will lobby the stewards to grant a special dispensation for the Japanese driver to start based on his Friday running.
However, Kobayashi's case could be damaged by the fact that both Friday sessions were held in wet condition, leaving him with no experience of running in full dry conditions this weekend.
"If Timo can't, he will do," said Howett when asked by AUTOSPORT whether Kobayashi would fill in for Glock if the German were unable to race. "It's a slightly grey area as to whether or not he can.
"The stewards probably can give us a force majeure reason to compete, but I have to say he didn't run today so we have to wait to see what they say."
Howett added that Glock's injuries were relatively light, and that he hopes that he will be able to start tomorrow's race.
"I don't know, we have to wait and see," said Howett. "Obviously he didn't feel too good today and we have to wait until tomorrow morning, but we hope so.
"As far as we know, he's fine. They've x-rayed his back because he felt a bit of a pain [and it showed] nothing at all.
"They x-rayed his leg and we're waiting to see, but it doesn't seem to be anything. He's got a scratch down the back of his leg, not too deep but reasonably long. It's precautionary – there's absolutely nothing wrong with him."
The accident is believed to have been down to driver error – Glock was on a fast lap at the time and had set personal bests in the first and second sectors when he crashed at the final corner – with Howett insisting that the data showed nothing wrong with the car.
"There's absolutely nothing we can see on the data or mechanically on the car so I can categorically say that we don't believe there's any issue with the car," said Howett.
"He was on the edge, he was pushing for time, two green sectors, if the car had bitten and gone he'd have probably would have got across the line."