Kamui Kobayashi says pay driver won't help Caterham F1 team

Kamui Kobayashi believes the Caterham Formula 1 team should not replace him with a paying driver, because that would harm its chances of improving its lowly standing in the constructors' championship

Kamui Kobayashi says pay driver won't help Caterham F1 team

Kobayashi returned to F1 this season thanks to a deal with the team's former owner Tony Fernandes, after a year's hiatus in sportscars.

Rumours have circulated that Kobayashi may lose his drive since a group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, led by Colin Kolles, took over the team from Fernandes in July.

Red Bull junior Carlos Sainz Jr has been strongly linked with the seat, but Kobayashi said a driver of his own experience would be more useful in securing Caterham's F1 future, if it can develop its car well enough to beat Sauber or Marussia to ninth or 10th in the title race.

"I don't really worry about my race seat. There are always rumours, but it's simple: getting the team eighth, ninth (in the championship) or whatever would be difficult with a pay driver," Kobayashi told AUTOSPORT.

"During the season it is not easy for a pay driver to reach that required performance straightaway.

"Maybe a practice or test opportunity will be OK for a pay driver, as this brings money to the team and they [the drivers] can get the experience.

"Otherwise, it is a big risk for them."

Kobayashi, a product of Toyota's young driver scheme when it raced in F1, described the increasing tendency among teams to take paying drivers as "a shame".

"If we look back at Formula 1 10 years ago, there were probably just a couple of teams with pay drivers," Kobayashi added.

"Now, it seems that almost all the teams are doing this stuff.

"It's about what the teams want and what the drivers can bring. It's really a shame."

Kobayashi remains hopeful planned upgrades for the forthcoming Belgian Grand Prix at Spa will help Caterham move itself closer to points contention, which looks vital to securing the squad's longer term future.

"I think if we can get even one point it will be big for the team, as we have never scored any points," Kobayashi told AUTOSPORT.

"It's not only the money, it's also about motivation.

"It's very important for us to focus. I think so far we have had high ambitions but not the performance.

"We haven't had many updates, but there is definitely a motivation to get higher.

"The new leaders want to change things in the team and want to make improvements.

"They are promising us updates in Spa, or somewhere, which is very positive."

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