Kobayashi refusing to give up on Formula 1 dream

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Kamui Kobayashi is refusing to give up on racing in Formula 1 despite being left on the sidelines for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin after Caterham entered administration last week.

Following the sale of the operation back in July by Tony Fernandes, Caterham has faced a great deal of financial turmoil, with both the old and new owners claiming not to have received what they were due.

The team was taken over by administrators last week, who confirmed that it would not be racing in Austin or Brazil and that staff will not return to work until a new buyer is found.

Administrator Finbarr O’Connell confirmed yesterday that he has a number of parties interested in the team, but for the time being, drivers Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have been left on the sidelines.

In a post on his Facebook page, Kobayashi said that he felt it was his duty to return to Formula 1 in the near future.

“I am concentrating all my energy on keep racing in F1,” the post read. “I believe in F1. I want to make F1 more popular in Japan. Japan is a very important market for F1, also for Japanese automakers, if F1 and motorsport become more popular, it will bring so many possibilities.

“Also, it is my role to keep racing in F1 so every child in Japan still can dream about F1. If I want to live in easy, I could choose other way. And it is big challenge to find racing solutions without money. But I will not to give up easily to achieve my childhood dream.” [sic]

Both Kobayashi and Ericsson have made the journey to Austin despite not racing this weekend, with the latter conducting work for Swedish television.

According to some reports in the paddock, Ericsson is closing in on a seat with Sauber for the 2015 season for a possible second year in F1, thus displacing either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

F1: Valtteri Bottas urges Lewis Hamilton to clear up Mercedes future and sign

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MONACO (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is urging Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to sign a new contract, even though his own future is uncertain.

Bottas needs to convince Mercedes to give him a new deal for next year. Hamilton, meanwhile, is stalling on signing a new one even though an offer is in place. Hamilton was again asked about his contract situation on Wednesday, and maintains he’s in no hurry.

“There isn’t any sticking point. There just hasn’t been any rush,” Hamilton said. “There’s no discussion with anybody else, there’s no consideration for anybody else, it’s just (me) taking my time.”

But Bottas would like Hamilton’s future cleared up.

“For sure I would. First of all, I would like to stay here. That is my goal for the long term. It would be nice if Lewis wants to stay and finds an agreement,” Bottas said at the Mercedes motorhome. “I enjoy working with him, I enjoy the challenge he gives me. I enjoy the fact he’s four-time world champion and at the moment I’m none. It makes me try harder to be better.

“It wouldn’t change my mind that I want to stay here, but I think we work well together,” he added.

Last season was their first together. Bottas was drafted in from Williams as an emergency replacement after Nico Rosberg retired. He won three races but he stood out more as the ideal support driver as Hamilton reclaimed the F1 title.

Bottas understands Mercedes expects improvement.

“We had a chat before the season and naturally we expect performance gains compared to last year, being closer to Lewis,” Bottas said. “That’s what you need to do in the second season.”

However, Bottas says he has not been set a specific target in terms of points or where he finishes overall.

“There’s no magic number,” he said. “There’s no clause or anything, so it’s how the team feels I’m performing.”

Bottas finished third overall last year behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.

He is in the same overall position – 20 points behind Vettel and 37 adrift of Hamilton – heading into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver would be closer if not for a dramatic finish at the Azerbaijan GP last month. With victory seemingly guaranteed, he sustained a tire puncture and ended up with no points. He bounced back with a fine drive for second place in Spain two weeks ago.

“I feel like I’ve met my performance targets. Pace-wise I’m on the level I need, but result-wise I’m not happy,” Bottas said. “It’s been strange. But I know if I keep improving very good things will come.”

He has faced a considerable amount of criticism with observers questioning whether he can compete at the top level. Yet driving under the constant pressure of having a point to prove has also made him more resilient.

“For sure it makes you tougher and better,” he said. “From each difficult weekend, I feel I’ve been able to turn it (around).”