Kamui Kobayashi says Sauber began to struggle from the British Grand Prix due to the team’s development priorities.
Kobayashi said: “We struggled due to the decisions made about the rules and our own technical development.
“We didn’t follow the direction of the off throttle exhaust blown diffuser any further.
“Instead we worked hard on the direction of development we had decided to go in, but we could not make up for the disadvantage that came from not having the same technology as the other teams.”
Sauber came close to losing seventh place in the constructors’ championship to Toro Rosso. The place was salvaged by Kobayashi’s points haul in the final two races.
“I can be happy that I still scored points in the final two races,” he said. “This was a good achievement under the circumstances.”
Kobayashi added that being in the role of team leader taught him a lot as a driver:
“It wasn’t easy for me. I needed to improve a lot in various areas. Not only in driving, but also in making decisions with the engineers.
“The fact that we had to deal with the new tyres from Pirelli, which were different in character compared to what we had before, was challenging for me.
“It was important to find out what was best for the race and how to handle qualifying. There was a big difference in performance between Saturday and Sunday.
“I think I came to understand many things during this season, and I have got a clearer picture for next year.”
Kobayashi named the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix as his highlights of the season: “In Monaco I qualified 13th, which wasn’t very strong.
“However, in the race we had a good strategy and in the end I finished fifth after what was a very difficult weekend for the team.
“In Canada we had a very good performance in the wet. When the track dried out I wasn’t able to defend second position and eventually finished seventh.
“Actually a bit more rain would have helped us, but I still regard it as a good race.”
2011 F1 season
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Image © Sauber F1 Team