|D.O.B.||13 September 1986|
|Date of Death||Unknown|
|Début||2017 Hong Kong ePrix I|
|Teams||MS&AD Andretti Formula E|
|Formula E Career|
|Total Entries||2 (2 Starts)|
Kamui Kobayashi, born 13 September 1986, is a Japanese racing driver who made his debut during the 2017/18 FIA Formula E Championship for Andretti. A former Formula One podium finisher and World Endurance Championship race winner, Kobayashi got his first taste of FE at the season opening Hong Kong ePrix in place of Tom Blomqvist, but did not perform particularly notably.
Kobayashi's career began at the age of nine, with the Japanese racer claiming third in his first Cadet karting championship. From 2004, aged seventeen, Kobayashi was given a spot in the Toyota Driver Academy, joining multiple Formula Renault Championships after a move from his native Japan. His second season in European racing would prove to be among Kobayashi's best as he swept to the Italian and European Formula Renault titles with six wins in either series.
The Formula One formula
Kobayashi graduated to the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2006, ending the season as best rookie. The following season saw him claim a maiden win en-route to fourth in the series standings, and land a spot with the Toyota Formula One effort as a test driver. With Toyota backing Kobayashi was promoted further up the motorsport ladder, making his debut in the GP2 Asia Series at the end of 2007.
Two wins in the Asian winter series convinced DAMS to give Kobayashi a full season in the full-blooded GP2 Series for 2009, with Kobyashi claiming a single victory. Another successful GP2 Asia campaign that winter saw Kobayashi claim his first major title in four years, before getting another shot in the full GP2 Series, albeit without any success. Yet, Kobayashi would end the season on a high, getting his first taste of Formula One towards the end of the 2009 campaign.
Japan's Rising Sun
Kobayashi almost made his debut in Formula One at the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix, but would have to until two weeks later to replace an injured Timo Glock in the Toyota F1 team. A quiet debut in Brazil was followed by a points finish in the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although Kobayashi's future in F1 was immediately put in doubt as Toyota left the Championship.
Fortunately for Kobayashi, Sauber were looking for new drivers after losing their partnership with BMW, meaning Kobayashi and his sponsors were able to secure the Japanese racer a seat for 2010. After a chaotic start to the season, Kobayashi proved to be a reliable points scorer, leading to a renewal of his contract at the end of the season. Unsurprisingly, Kobayashi proved to be as consistent the following season, earning another renewal for 2012.
2012 proved to be Kobayashi's best season in F1, taking a maiden podium finish in his native Japan, the first earned by a Japanese driver since Takuma Sato. Yet, a lack of sponsor backing meant that Kobayashi was dropped for 2013, leaving him to find entertainment elsewhere. A switch of focus for Kobayashi saw him move to the new World Endurance Championship for the 2013 season, racing without major success in a factory Ferrari.
Miraculously, Kobayashi managed to partially revive his F1 career in 2014, earning a season-long drive with the lacklustre Caterham F1 team. However, the Japanese racer was frequently at odds with the team as they made changes within the team at short notice, including dropping Kobayashi to hand André Lotterer a drive in Belgium. The team would ultimately fold before the end of the season, leaving Kobayashi without a seat and his reputation harmed after spending the season in an un-competitive car.
2015 saw the Japanese racer return to his native Japan, making his debut in the Super Formula Championship. He would continue on in Super Formula through to 2017, while also making a return to Toyota, joining their WEC effort in 2016, claiming third overall in that season's standings. He would also race for the Toyota team in 2017, as well as adding drives in Super GT and the Blancpain Endurance Series to his C.V.
Formula E History
Kobayashi was a surprise addition to the entry list for the season opening Hong Kong E-Prix, as Andretti Formula E had only just confirmed that Tom Blomqvist would partner António Félix da Costa for the entire 2017/18 season. Ultimately, at the request of Andretti's Japanese title sponsors MS&AD, Kobayashi was given the drive in Hong Kong in place of Blomqvist, despite having never sat in an FE car before. It was to be a one-off deal for the Japanese ace, whom would race under a Monegasque license, with Blomqvist duly rejoining the team ahead of the 2018 Marrakech E-Prix.
Ultimately Kobayashi would have a quiet debut, finishing fifteenth in his first race, before recording a seventeenth place result in the second. Ultimately, Kobayashi's services were not retained for the rest of the campaign, although the Japanese ace was thought to be in line for a seat in 2018/19.
Full Formula E Record
Shown below are a series of tables outlining Kamui Kobayashi's career in Formula E in statistical form.
Formula E Entries
The list below includes all of the teams and cars, as well as overall finishing positions for Kamui Kobayashi during their FE career:
|Kamui Kobayashi's Overall Formula E Record|
|2017/18||MS&AD Andretti Formula E||27||Andretti ATEC-03||24th||0|
Below is a table showing Kamui Kobayashi's full Formula E record.
|FIA Formula E Championship Record|
Videos and Images:
- Morio, 'File:Kamui Kobayashi 2010 Malaysia.jpg', commons.wikimedia.com, (WikiMedia: Commons, 04/04/2010), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kamui_Kobayashi_2010_Malaysia.jpg, (Accessed 23/04/2018)
- 'Kobayashi to Join MS&AD Andretti for HKT Hong Kong E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/11/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/november/kobayashi-to-join-msad-andretti-for-hkt-hong-kong-e-prix/, (Accessed 15/11/2017)
- 'Kamui Kobayashi', wikipedia.org, (WikiMedia, 13/11/2017), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamui_Kobayashi, (Accessed 20/11/2017)
- 'Season 4: official team & driver entry list confirmed', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/11/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/october/season-4-official-team-driver-entry-list-confirmed/, (Accessed 03/11/2017)
- Scott Mitchell, 'Abt stripped of maiden Formula E win', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 03/12/2017), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/abt-stripped-maiden-fe-win-hong-kong-985435/, (Accessed 03/12/2017)