(Inautonews.com/GMM) The formula one world has expressed shock and sadness amid the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The disaster struck while the F1 world, including Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi, was testing in Barcelona late last week.
“My country has suffered an enormous catastrophe. The news is depressing and I’m very sad,” said the Sauber driver.
Jenson Button initially feared for his Japanese girlfriend Jessica, who was modelling in Tokyo.
“She’s fine, very shaken,” said the McLaren driver.
Many F1 figures are deeply affectionate for Japan, the home of passionate race-goers as well as long-time former participants including Bridgestone and Toyota and popular drivers like Takuma Sato.
“Our hearts and minds go out to the people of Japan, who are great supporters of our sport,” said Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn.
And the situation in Japan is still ongoing, with nuclear power plants affected, terrifying images emerging and the official death toll rising.
“It’s like it’s unreal but it’s not,” said Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter, who according to Turun Sanomat newspaper works with a Japanese engineer.
“I have a lot of Japanese fans and I sincerely hope they are all okay,” the Finn is quoted as saying.
Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz admitted the emerging images and footage is “terrible”, and Fernando Alonso said the tragedy puts F1 into perspective.
“Formula one and all its problems is way down the list of priorities,” said the Ferrari driver.