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Kamui Kobayashi (Ð¡ÁÖ ¿É‰ô‚¥, Kobayashi Kamui?, born September 13, 1986 in Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan) is a Japanese racing driver. He has competed in the GP2 Series, won the GP2 Asia Series, and made his Formula One debut with Toyota in the final two races of 2009 when he replaced Timo Glock after the German was injured in a crash during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. He has driven for Sauber since the 2010 season.
Kobayashi was born in the town of Amagasaki, near Kobe. His father owns a sushi restaurant. He began his career in motorsport in 1996 when he was nine years old, finishing third in his first season of karting in the SL Takarazuka Tournament Cadet Class. During the following seven years, Kobayashi took four karting titles, winning the Toyota SL All Japan Tournament Cadet Class series twice.
In 2004, he signed up for Toyota's Driver Academy and soon began his career in open wheel racing. Kobayashi's next step was Formula Renault, entering the Asian, German, Italian and Dutch championships and taking two race victories in the Italian championship. Kobayashi continued his campaign in the Formula Renault class, entering the Italian and European championships and with six wins in both championships, he won both titles.
In 2006, Kobayashi entered the Formula Three Euroseries with ASM Formule 3 alongside Paul di Resta, Giedo van der Garde and Sebastian Vettel. He took three podium positions in his debut season, coming eighth in the Drivers' Championship and first in the Rookie's Championship. Kobayashi also entered the Macau Grand Prix and the Masters of Formula 3, both of which are annual Formula Three events. Kobayashi started the latter in 10th place and finished the race a place lower in 11th while at the Macau Grand Prix, he started the race in pole position but finished in 19th place.
At the beginning of 2007, Kobayashi, along with Kohei Hirate, was named as one of the Toyota Formula One team's test drivers. He stayed in the F3 Euroseries for the upcoming season and had an impressive start to the season, taking two podiums in the first four rounds, and at the tenth round in Magny-Cours for the Formula One French Grand Prix Formula Three support race Kobayashi took his first race victory in Formula Three. Kobayashi finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship.
Following a successful GP2 Asia Series campaign in early 2008, Kobayashi won his first GP2 Series race in only the second race of the season. After a strong start from pole in the sprint race at the Circuit de Catalunya, Kamui took the chequered flag in first place. This was after a controversial piece of defensive driving from his former F3 Euroseries team-mate Romain Grosjean after a safety car period. At the end of the pit straight, Kamui attempted a pass on Grosjean. However, the Frenchman moved more than once to defend his position, forcing Kobayashi into evasive action. This resulted in a drive through penalty for the Frenchman, handing the win to Kobayashi. However, he only finished in the points on one further occasion, restricting him to sixteenth in the championship.
Another successful GP2 Asia campaign followed over the winter months of 2008 and 2009, with Kobayashi winning two races en route to the championship, with a round to spare. Kobayashi could not repeat his form in the main series, finishing sixteenth again.
Formula One (2007¨Cpresent)
On November 16, 2007 it was confirmed that Kobayashi would replace the departing Franck Montagny as the Toyota F1 team's third driver. He was employed as the team's test and reserve driver during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
At the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix, Kobayashi competed in the first two free practice sessions in place of Timo Glock, who was unwell. Glock recovered in time to take part in the third free practice session and qualifying, but was injured after crashing in the latter session and had to miss the race. Toyota asked the F¨¦d¨¦ration Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for permission to run Kobayashi in the race, but this was refused as the regulations state that a driver must run in at least one session on Saturday in order to be eligible to start the race.
Kobayashi did, however, make his Formula One debut at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix, following a complication to Glock's injury that was initially not detected. He qualified 11th in a chaotic qualifying session that lasted for over two and half hours and was red-flagged twice due to accidents caused by torrential rain. Early in the race, while running in sixth place, he held off the challenge of Jenson Button, who needed to finish well in order to clinch the world championship, for several laps. He finished the race in tenth place, and was later promoted to ninth when Heikki Kovalainen was penalised. Button jokingly described Kobayashi as "absolutely crazy, very aggressive". He