Sauber have announced that Kamui Kobayashi, who turns 24 next Monday, will be driving for the team next season.
The Japanese rookie, who is competing in his first full Formula 1 season, has scored 21 points, 15 more than his teammate, F1 veteran Pedro de la Rosa. His best result of the season so far is his sixth place finish at Silverstone.
Team boss Peter Sauber reveals that the decision to offer Kobayashi a drive for next season was not difficult to make. “We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team – both as a driver and a person,” he says. “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.”
Kobayashi replaced Timo Glock at Toyota for the last two races in 2009, and impressed the F1 world with his tenacity and exciting driving. Despite a difficult start to this season, where he suffered a string of reliability problems, and was also an innocent victim of a couple of incidents, Kobayashi has done a solid job for Sauber, and has scored points at four of the last five races. The driver hopes to be adding to his tally in the final six grand prix:
“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.”
The team will announced their second driver for the 2011 season at a later date, and many think that Pedro de la Rosa will lose his drive for the team.