Sauber announced on Wednesday that Nico Hulkenberg will race for the team in 2013, with Esteban Gutierrez set to make his début.
But Kobayashi reckons he has earned his place in the sport.
“We have to work hard to get next year’s seat. I think I’m pretty confident to deserve a Formula One seat but for sure we definitely need to focus for these last three races. So, let’s see. We don’t have so many seats [available] either, so this is also a big question, so I think I try to focus on the results and also negotiate with other teams or the same team, I don’t know”, he said.
When pushed about his future, Kobayashi cited his podium at Suzuka as an important milestone.
“After the race at Suzuka this year, since then I think Japan is more interested in motor sport, especially Formula One. I think if I had a little bit more time I could find more sponsoring from Japan. This is what I’m looking for. After Suzuka, we definitely had a lot of contact from a couple of companies”, he said.
“It’s very difficult to judge what I have to say, because I’m not deciding the team and I don’t know the budget. I have no idea. This is a very difficult moment, but at the moment I could find quite a lot of sponsors and we definitely see a lot of good signs after the Suzuka result. It’s very important to get international but also my preference is if I could bring some sponsoring from Japan, to get more popular in Japan. I think this is what I’m really focusing on at the moment”.