Melbourne: Japan's daredevil driver Kamui Kobayashi on Thursday appealed to Formula One chiefs for an act of solidarity with the Japanese people suffering from this month's destructive earthquake and tsunami.
The grim toll of dead and missing from Japan's monster quake and tsunami on March 11 has topped 26,000, with hundreds of thousands remaining in evacuation shelters.
Kobayashi, who will drive for Sauber in Sunday's season-opening Australian GP in Melbourne, wants Formula One to use its global appeal to support Japan.
"We definitely need help from the world in this situation," Kobayashi said.
"The situation in Japan is really bad and if the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) and FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) can help us, we do really need help because the situation is so bad.
"There are so many people with no house, no food, the situation is not easy.
"So I think at this moment we have to think what we can do.
"I think we need to help each other. I hope they can help us."
Japan's National Police Agency said in its latest update that 9,700 people had been confirmed dead and 16,501 officially listed as missing - a total of 26,201 - as a result of this month's catastrophe.
The quake has become Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 142,000 people.
Kobayashi, 24, is one of the most forceful drivers on the F1 circuit and has a reputation of attempting passing moves that other drivers resist.