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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Sunday, 1 November 2009

Kobayashi set for full-time seat

22-year-old Kamui Kobayashi has impressed in the Toyota
Kamui Kobayashi has impressed whilst standing in for Timo Glock in the Toyota

Toyota's stand-in driver Kamui Kobayashi is likely to land a full-time drive with the team in 2010 after impressing team bosses in Abu Dhabi.

The 23-year-old Japanese rookie put in an eye-catching drive to finish sixth after starting 12th on the grid.

When asked if he was now likely to take one of the team's 2010 driver slots Toyota motorsport director John Howett said "It looks like it, yes.

"We have to really seriously consider him now after this good strong result."

Kobayashi, who is deputising for the injured Timo Glock, finished ninth on his Formula 1 debut in Brazil two weeks ago and has now scored points in his second grand prix.

He outperformed his experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli, who finished behind him in seventh despite starting the race six places ahead.

Kobayashi, admittedly in a lighter car, also managed to pull off a clever overtaking manoeuvre on new world champion Jenson Button to further demonstrate his lack of awe in the presence of the more established drivers.


"I was very impressed, we were very happy again," added Howett.

"What we like is his real fighting spirit, not intimidated by anybody."

"He's a product of our own driver programme so therefore it's another positive reason, he's Japanese and we're a Japanese team. So there are lots of positives."

Howett admitted it had been a gamble to promote Kobayashi because of his unconvincing form in the GP2 feeder series.

"I think we always understood he was very good in terms of racing spirit, I think all through his career," Howett said.

"But partly because the GP2 pace didn't look that competitive you are always hesitant about the risk.

"I think it's a definite lesson that sometimes we all should be braver in our driver choices and not go for the safer, risk-hedged decision."

Trulli and Glock both seem likely to leave the Cologne-based team, whose future in F1 is in doubt.

Toyota's board is meeting later this month to sign off the company's budget for 2010.

The company made a loss of £483m in the three months to the end of June.

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