Reproduced from CNA site:
SINGAPORE: The 2009 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix will be Williams’ driver Kazuki Nakajima’s biggest test to date, as the 24-year-old battles to keep his place alongside team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The Japanese driver has yet to score any points in 13 races this season, and talk in the paddock is that the British racing outfit are looking to replace Nakajima with Germany’s Nico Hulkenburg for 2010.
While he seemed unfazed by the speculation, Nakajima knows a good showing here, and in the final three races, is crucial to his future in Formula 1.
Speaking to Today after a visit to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) office at One Raffles Quay with RBS ambassador Sir Jackie Stewart on Wednesday, Nakajima said: "Nothing has been said yet and I hope to stay in the team … maybe that will not happen, but I don’t think this will be my last time in Singapore and I’m confident I’ll be back next year.
"The most important thing now is to get a result and show my performance.
"Our car is strong here as it’s a street track with the highest downforce level of all the tracks. Also, Singapore is similar to Monaco, and we were strong there."
It was good for Rosberg at least, who finished sixth in Monaco, while Nakajima came in 15th, the last of the cars remaining on track.
During the visit to RBS, Nakajima and Stewart presented a cheque for $17,000 to humanitarian charity, Mercy Relief. The money was raised by the bank’s staff in Singapore via a raffle draw, which was done in conjunction with the Grand Prix.
Nakajima will be the only Asian on the grid for Sunday’s race.
From next season, the Asian continent will feature seven Grands Prix after the addition of Korea, which will make it 19 races in the 2010 calendar.
Nakajima, who is looking forward to racing in front of his home fans at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 4, is not surprised at Formula 1’s expansion in Asia.
"Basically, Formula 1 need new markets and this shows that the sport is finding more funds outside of Europe, and that’s good," he said. "It makes life easier for me as there are more races closer to my country, and the culture in most Asian countries is similar."
The sport made a huge breakthrough when Lewis Hamilton became the first black world champion last year.
Hamilton told Today just before the Italian Grand Prix in Monza that Formula 1 would eventually see an Asian champion, and Nakajima thinks it will happen in the next 10 years.
"It is a possibility, but we have to set up a good base and teach young drivers the finer points of racing, just like it is done in Japan," he said.
"Racing is not a fair sport in some ways … It’s difficult because you need the budget to compete. But if people have talent, they manage to find some way to get into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car."
Ironically, Nakajima was referring to 22-year-old Hulkenburg, the driver tipped to take over his drive at Williams.
He said: "Nico Hulkenburg is a good example. He obviously has got talent and he managed to climb up by showing speed and finding someone to back him." – TODAY