As he fights for his F1 future, the Japanese driver talks about his expectations of a strong weekend in India.
After such a high in Japan coming with your first podium, you experienced a massive low the following week in Korea when you were involved in an incident and were forced to retire on the 16th lap. How do you bounce back?
I’m not worried for the performance. I could have easily been in Q3 in qualifying in Korea and the Sunday [in the race] was my own big mistake, so I just need to get back to being consistent for the rest of the season. We were pretty fast on the race pace in Korea, so Q3 has to be the target for qualifying this weekend.
Jenson Button was critical of you after you ended his race in Korea on the first lap. Did you get a chance to speak with him?
I have no telephone numbers or anything so I couldn't, but I admitted it was my mistake.
What are your impressions of India one year on?
I was pretty surprised because it is much cleaner. Last year, when I was driving to the circuit, I couldn't see two or three metres ahead of my car. Really, I couldn't see the car in front. I nearly hit a cow one morning - seriously! This is not a big problem this year though. The track is much cleaner and the buildings have developed.
Sauber's aim for the rest of the season must surely be to chase down Mercedes in the constructors' championship. Is that likely and does the fact the team has the chance to test some new parts at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi help?
I'm trying to do my best and be in front of Mercedes and I believe we can do it. As for the test, they have a bigger budget, so for them it is much easier. For us, that is not something we look to do; we do not have a lot to test. They have that advantage. We don't plan another update before the rest of the season.
It is understood you had talks with Sauber in Korea. How confident are you of being on the grid next year?
To be an F1 driver is not a big problem, but you need to fight for World Championship points, this is the key, so it's difficult to say.
And how is the hunt for commercial backing coming along?
I am working on it. After I went back to Tokyo after Suzuka, I wanted to celebrate, but there was no time; I had to work to get a sponsor. It's not something we wanted, but this is the situation. Normally, for a top team, it doesn't matter as they have a big budget, but for the lesser teams they need some budget because it's a different system. This is what I have to understand.