From a high of achieving his first Formula 1 podium on home ground at the Japanese Grand Prix, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi was brought crashing down when he caused an incident at the Korean Grand Prix that resulted in Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg retiring on the first lap. Kobayashi received a drive-through penalty for that, admitting after the race that he is to blame and that is is "a race to forget".
26-year-old Kobayashi might be losing his drive at Sauber next season, which I think is a pity because he is quite a character. When he was in town during the Singapore Grand Prix last month, I got the chance to speak to him and I thought some of his answers were pretty humourous and refreshing from the other drivers. I hope he stays on in Formula 1.
Q: How do you feel about the season so far?
A: So far I'm happy with the team's performance. Overall I think we are having a very competitive season.
Q: What is your target?
A: I thought we could get podium for sure, but of course wins are getting close. For the Constructors', we want to be in top five.
Q: Most challenging thing about being in Formula 1?
A: Everything is challenging; this job is never easy.
Q: Which point did you know you will make it to Formula 1?
A: I never knew. I just focused on myself to get good results at every race and suddenly I got this chance. Formula 1 had always been very far away for me when I was young.
Q: Racing has been a big part of your life, what if you are not racing?
A: I started racing since a young age of nine and I only wanted to be a racing driver.
Q: Most difficult track you ever driven on?
A: Macau. It's the most difficult track seriously. It's super tough but I love crazy circuits.
Q: If you could change anything in F1, what would you change?
A: I want to see more girls in the paddock, like models. (gestures to the paddock) Where can you see the models now? There used to be models but not anymore.
Q: Anything you don't like about racing?
A: Travelling. I don't miss home but we spend too much time in the airplane.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: Sports fishing. I get a cruiser and then go out to fish, eating my catch after that.
Q: One thing you must try in your life?
A: I think I can do everything, seriously. I have licence for boat, cruiser and all that. I believe I can do everything.
Q: Any point where you have been scared?
A: I got a black guy pointing a gun at my head before. That was last year and it was very scary, very scary. I gave everything; my wallet, my handphone, everything. I was training early in the morning at 5am and I was alone walking the beach after that.
Q: What do you think about girls and racing?
A: Wait long, long, long. Imagine, racing is always sweaty and they would have to walk with a lot of sweaty guys around. We can end very late and have to wake up very early the next morning. They cannot put on their make-up and sometimes they cannot eat. So for a woman, it would be very difficult I think.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.