Sauber retain Kamui Kobayashi for 2011

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Kamui Kobayashi will drive a second season for Sauber in 2011, the team has announced.

But the team are yet to announce who his team mate will be. They may keep Pedro de la Rosa in the car but rumours have linked GP2 front runners Pastor Maldonado andSergio Perez to the seat.

Team principal Peter Sauber said:

We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team – both as a driver and a person. We never had any doubts about working with him again in 2011.

Kamui has definitely fulfilled our expectations in terms of his speed and fighting spirit. Plus, his work with the engineers and his technical understanding has also developed very well.

The experience he has built up over his first full season in Formula One will certainly stand him in good stead for 2011. And our aim is to give him a fast and reliable car from the outset next season.
Peter Sauber

Kobayashi, who has out-scored his more experienced team mate 21-6 so far this year, said:

We had a very difficult start to the season, but we’ve worked together to pull ourselves out of that situation. I feel very much at home in Peter Sauber’s team and am very pleased we’ll be working together again in 2011.

However, for now I’m focusing one hundred per cent on this year. There are still six Grand Prix weekends to go in 2010, and we’ll be hoping to make up more ground.
Kamui Kobayashi

Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Sauber retain Kamui Kobayashi for 2011”

  1. Sound_Of_Madness
    7th September 2010, 8:07

    Deserved it. Showed that these 2 races in 2009 were not just a blink, and he is talented, unlike most Japaneses guys (any specific Sakon?)

    1. agreed, he has worked hard this season and despite a lack luster start to the season he has constantly improved and put in some great drives, Valencia was just amazing.

      1. Now he has to learn how to get the most out of the car in Qualifying and he can be a very good driver.

        I never really expected Pedro de la Rosa do do wonders, seems Sauber didn’t expect a lot more from him as well. To me it always felt like a 1 year race drive with a testing/simulator/development job for the years after that. Another reason Sauber might not need Heidfeld in his car for next year.

        1. The sri lankan
          8th September 2010, 1:16

          he fully deserved it man! i watched the brazil 2009 race today and just remembered how much of a giant killer this guy really is. hopefully he will get a decent car to start scoring podiums in. BEST JAPANESE F1 DRIVER SO FAR. SATO WHO? NAKAJIMA WHO?

      2. Lack lustre start? Wasn’t that really just reliability? 6 out of 7 races or something, Sauber got a double finish for at the start of the season if I remember?

        1. 1 not 6 out of 7*

  2. “We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team”

    Makes him sound like a pet!

  3. Good for F1, good for Sauber and good for Kobayashi…..

  4. This news pleases me greatly.

  5. Whoever Sauber takes as their second driver next year, they’re going to need a title sponsor. And not least because of the much-needed money – the Sauber C29 is too good-looking a car to carry such a bland livery.

    1. Maybe Senna? He has some Brazilian sponsors that could make the livery a bit better.

      1. I was thinking more Maldonado (PDVSA) or Perez (Telmex).

        1. It has to be Perez. All that Telmex money behind him has to make him an attractive proposition. He has a good turn of pace too. Bruno’s sponsors don’t seem to have deep enough pockets to justify title sponsor status.

          1. PDVSA is also pretty strong. They’re a petrochem conglomerate subsidised by the Venezuelan parliament in Caracas. Hugo Chavez has allegedly expressed interest in a Venezuelan Grand Prix. Combined with Esteban Guerrieri and Buenos Ares’ interest in funding a driver before a race of their, such a move could see Formula 1 undergo a renaissance in South America – a South American leg comprising of a Brazilian, Venezuelan and Argentine Grand Prix?

          2. PM, “the Sauber C29 is too good-looking a car to carry such a bland livery.” Good-looking? Nope, the nose is far too long. ;)

          3. eh, Sauber claim to have the finances sorted but will two rookies really be good for the team? They might benefit from some experiance, Kamui is probably getting a hell of a lot of set up help. If they have the finances sign Heidfeld, decent enough pace, cheap enough to hire, knowledge of next years tires, good on set up and development for the team and Kamui, essentially a bigger better Pedro de la Rosa.

            Whatever you think of him as a driver he’s certainly usefull for a team in Saubers position, no doubt looking to expand to take advantage of their infrastrucure and tech and the factory before times move to far on.

          4. PLUS.. telmex its starting to offer TV service in mexico.. in wich of course they will try to broadcast F1 races… making a more all round deal.

    2. The sri lankan
      8th September 2010, 1:18

      lol yeah Burgakings isnt gunna pay bills forever

      1. Glock won’t be a bad choice for the second seat.

  6. Good news everyone ! (futurama wink inside)

    1. It is great news…. and nicely done.

    2. Very nicely done.

  7. I hope the second driver will be brazilian.

    The only sole sponsor for Sauber, this year, is Burguer King. Last days, Burguer King was sold to a brazilian investment group. Senna maybe?

    1. Senna’s sponsor is Embratel. If Burger King wanted to work with him, they’d have sponsored Hispania.

      1. I think he’s saying it’s only a recent development though.

  8. does anyone else think sauber may sign/already have signed senna.. he claims the finances are sorted for next year and senna definitely brings sponsors with him. hes definitely got speed. so senna and kobayashi will definitely be a good combo. only problem is that they both have little experience..

    1. Nope. Not even remotely – because reports claim that de la Rosa is still in contention for the seat if he brings a sponsor he’s in talks with on-board.

      1. Any news on who PDLR is talking to? I’m assuming its going to be someone like Repsol or Telefonica…

        1. No idea – just that he’s talking to someone.

          1. It might still be Burger King! Originally they did that deal only with the spanish branch for the races there, but after some succes it seems that was extended to the rest of the year.

            Who knows, they might be interested in having a big whopper at Sauber for next year.

    2. Why all the talk of Senna? He is about the same as Chandok it would appear, and scarcely better than the much-maligned Yamamoto on raw pace.

      For a team on a shose-string budget, keeping the outgoing McLaren test driver will keep reaping dividends in his experience and his specific knowledge of McLaren technology.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        7th September 2010, 23:10

        Because Senna has sponsers Chandok obviously doesn’t because other wise Yamamoto wouldn’t be in his seat

        1. It will probably be El Sergio because of Sauber’s ‘alliance’ with Carlos Slim, who owns Telmex. Another hint is Esteban Gutiérrez, who is under the wings of Sauber. Peter Sauber is not denying a Mexican-funded Sauber team, and Mexican sponsorship would be excellent for Sauber as they are currently not involved in F1 at this moment. It would not be so bad to stick another rookie at Sauber because Kobayashi is maturing with every drive, and has established himself as a number one driver over de La Rosa, who has only scored six points versus Kobayashi’s 21.

  9. A bit disappointed…
    I would have loved to see Kobayashi drive a quicker car, a Renault for instance. 2012 ?

    1. Not done enough to prove he merits a car with winning potential yet. If he keeps it up like this for the end of this year and next he’ll be well on the way. Needs to show some driving intelligence and calm as well.

      1. Well, thinking of Grosjean, Piquet etc… one might think that Kobayashi would be a match to them.

  10. Great news. Hopefully Sauber can be a regular contender for points and get the occasional podium next year.

  11. I bet Petrov will be happy…

    1. “How? Why? How?”

      “Three excellent questions.”

      Bonus points if you know where it’s from.

      1. It’s not Buffy is it? Or something like Futurama?

        1. Right on the first go, Steph! It’s from the episode “Something Blue”; it’s Xander’s and Giles’ reactions that Buffy and Spike are engaged for no reason and in spite of their mutual loathing.

          1. Yes :) I believe you once said that you were an pop cult geek so I’m happy I got that right although disappointed I didn’t know the exact episode …

    2. Sound_Of_Madness
      7th September 2010, 12:52

      I wouldn’t swear. Koba was the fourth option for Renault to replace Petrov…

      1. No he wasn’t. Kobayashi’s name was never connected to Renault except by fans who wanted to see him in a team that could prove more competitive than Sauber.

        1. Spot on. Renault have enough options of their own (Petrov, Sutil, Glock, maybe Heidfeld, Grosjean, both DAMS GP2 drivers etc.).

          1. But Kobayashi knows Eric Bouiller from DAMS, does he not? And who won the GP2 Asia Series with DAMS two years ago…?

            But with Kobayashi out of the driver change picture, I’d like to see Sutil at Renault and, as ludicrous as it sounds, *cough* Senna at Mercedes.

          2. But Kobayashi knows Eric Bouiller from DAMS, does he not?

            That’s like saying Fernando Alonso knows Adrian Campos because Campos gave him a start in Spanish F3, so Alonso was therefore a candidate to join Hispania when it was known as Campos.

  12. Great that Koba will be on the grid again next year, with any luck Sauber will be a bit more competitive. But for that I do think they need to keep de la Rosa.

  13. This is great news. It would be good to see him in something faster, but he needs a bit more experience first.

    Do Sauber definitely need a driver who can bring a title sponsor? It would be nice to think that their improved performance could attract increased sponsorship. Surely a fast (and popular) Japanese driver is good for business.

    It seems odd how ‘unsponsored’ their car is at the moment

  14. This is a good move by Sauber. Their confidence in Kobayashi can only be good for her morale and hence his performance.

  15. Good news! Been very impressed with him and he seems like a nice guy to have around and work your team around.

  16. Charles Carroll
    7th September 2010, 14:13

    Good news for Kobayashi and Sauber! It will be interesting to see if both can improve upon the latter half of this year’s progress.

  17. Excellent news. He’s impressed me this year. Though he needs to work on qualifying, he and the team seem to have their heads screwed on during the races and it’s bringing them some good points now.

    Hope he can continue his good form into next year!

  18. Yes daykind petrov will be excited to hear this news……..

  19. That’s great news. He owned it. Let him use this season as his leaning days & use this experience to built a good car for Sauber for 2011.I hope Japaneses firm help him to sponsor as he is the only person representing the country so that Sauber get some funding & improve more on 2011 car.

  20. Good news, I am glad to see Koby will have a seat next year. Let’s hope it leads to bigger and better things

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