Sauber to Retain Kobayashi and Perez for 2012


Sauber have today confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez will driving for the team again in 2012.

Mexican GP2 driver Esteban Gutierrez will also remain with the team as test and reserve driver.

Kobayashi currently sits 11th in the drivers championship with 27 points after ten races whilst Perez, who is competing in his debut season and missed the Monaco and Canadian Grand Prix, is 14th with eight points. The 21-year-old Mexican is the most successful of the four rookie drivers that, like him, began their F1 careers at the first race of the season in Australia.

“We are very pleased with our drivers,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “Kamui has grown into his role extremely well this year. Though it is only his second full Formula One season, he is already taking on the responsibilities that naturally fall to the more experienced driver in the team. We are delighted with him at both a sporting and a personal level. We had an option of working with him in 2012 and there was never any doubt that we would take it.”

“Sergio has achieved more than one could expect from a rookie. From the very first race he proved that he is capable of driving not only fast but consistently as well. And after the accident in Monaco he demonstrated that he can handle difficult situations too. From the outset we had already signed a contract with Sergio that went beyond 2011. With a rookie that always entails a certain risk, of course, but clearly it has paid off.”

“Esteban's career is advancing in steady strides,” Sauber added. “After his commanding victory in GP3 it was a logical step for him to move up into GP2, where he has now taken his first win. He will then enter Formula One when he is ready for it. For us he has been a firm fixture of the team since 2010, and we will continue to support him on his way towards Formula One.”

Kobayashi is pleased to be remaining with Sauber for another season: “I'm very proud that I can drive another year for this team and I want to thank Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn for putting their faith in me and the guys for all their work. In 2010 we had a very difficult season and some tough times. We managed to overcome this because we are a strong team.”

Likewise, Perez is also very pleased to be continuing his relationship with the team. “I want to thank Peter and Monisha that they trust me,” he said. “Of course it is very good to have continuity and this way I can intensively prepare with my race engineer for what will be my second Formula One season. But for now I'm concentrating on finishing this season on a high. The summer break will be very good for me because since my accident in Monaco it has been a busy time.”

“I feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to continue my relationship with Peter Sauber and all the people in the team,” Gutierrez added. “I have been working on my development with the help of the team's advice and on my racing in GP2 and other series. So I look forward to increasing my skills in a very professional way so as to take the step into the highest level of motor sports with the necessary experience to keep up the same rhythm as in my career so far.”