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Sauber backs young talent and bags Kobayashi
Sauber backs young talent and bags Kobayashi
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Dec 2009   |  12:03 pm GMT  |  118 comments

Peter Sauber has always been a big supporter of talented young drivers. And in his latest guise as a reluctant team owner – having taken back his team from BMW – he is backing his instincts and giving Kamui Kobayashi a drive for 2010.

Kobayashi at speed (Darren Heath)

Kobayashi at speed (Darren Heath)

It was announced today that Kobayashi will drive for BMW Sauber, as the team has not yet had its name changed.

Kobayashi made a big impression in his two Grands Prix at the end of the season, not having driven an F1 car for seven months when he got the call up from Toyota to replace Timo Glock.

He drove a tremendous race in Brazil, battling with Jenson Button and in Abu Dhabi he scored three points for sixth place. What was most impressive about his showing was that up to that point it had seemed that the 2009 generation cars were hard for rookie drivers to master, with Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean both struggling to get the most from their cars.

With no testing allowed either it was probably one of the most difficult times to come in to F1 as a rookie.

“I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui,” said Peter Sauber. “In the final two Grand Prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it. Particularly in the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy. I am convinced he has a great deal of potential and will be able to make the most of it in our team.”

Kobayashi also seems to be a hit with the fans. Certainly this website has had a lot of positive comments about the 23 year old Japanese driver.

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I leapt for joy when I heard the news. Great stuff. Can’t wait to see what he can do next season, and I’ll be supporting him all the way!

Many here are talking about him bringing Panasonic backing, but having read above that they’re doing some factory stuff with Toyota, that is seeming more unlikely. I’m thinking more Fujitsu for some reason.

Anyways, I’m glad for Kamui, and for Peter too. Here’s to a fruitful 2010.


Poor old sato… out in the cold seat now


Huzzah and Hurrah! If starts where he left off, then I’m going to have a new favourite driver for 2010.

Good on Peter Sauber for bagging him. Hopefully he’ll scale the heights some other Sauber finds have.


So gald he has a drive. Should F1 teams start taking drives who do not perform good in GP2?


This is good news and I think Peter Sauber has made a clever decision here as he has the only Japanese dirver on the grid to attract all the Japanese sponsors.

I hope Kamui can keep up with what he has shown us in the last 2 races.


I thought Kobayashi was brill in his 2 races. However I also remember Alex Wurz making a big splash in his early races. I’m unconvinced that Kobayashi will make the grade but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.


Great news for F1 that another exciting driver is going to be in the mix.

Received my Revolutionary year book today James.

Great read so far 🙂 Must get off the internet and go read some more.




Glad he’s been given a race seat. He was fantastic in Brazil in the race. Good to see someone not afraid to go at it.




Ha ha now that’s funny


Yes…. good news… but no more than that…

To be honest, reading the above coments, it comes across that you have all been following Formula 1 for…. 1 year!

The history of the sport is littered by drivers who made a great debut.. that fizzled out as fast… 2 grandprix do not make a summer… If you thought this was was your only chance.. you would be a bit more aggressive and risky than you might for a whole campaign..

Do you not all remember a certain Jos Verstappen.. who boldly over took a certain Michael Schumacher… well he was going to be the next world champion as well!!

BUT yes what we saw was encouraging and I am glad he has the chnce to prove himself… but do not hold your breath… again do you not remember Alexander Wurz’s debut…


Fair point Montaya was one of them.But then both Lewis and MS did impressive stuff but Kaumi was more impressive IMO.


This kid had verve and style and impressed in his races at the end of the year.

I am glad to see the expansion and new teams-F1 was painting itself into a corner with no testing and no “minnow” teams to develop new talent.

If Sauber could bag Nick H. they would be in fair shape on the driver side.


“Kobayashi also seems to be a hit with the fans.”

He seems to be a quick, aggressive, racing driver with deep self belief. What’s not to like? Congratulations Kobayashi. Williams must wish Toyota installed Kobayashi instead of Nakajima for engines this past year.



2012 will be vettel to Hamilton or one of those padawan learners 😉


Kobayashi to Ferrari 2012. I am calling it.


That is a bold claim, but you may not be far off 😀

If he can pull those two races without proper testing he can only get better pace wise. What will not change is that gutsy racer attitude.

Kamui will have known already how much the fans enjoyed those it will only spur him on much more. He will be a beast on track. A driver others will fear (reminds me of Senna in his aggressive overtaking mind games)

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]



That would be interesting indeed.

I’m curious how the Italians would handle a Japanese driver given their very contrary cultures.


It surprises me that Kobayashi has not really shown the level of form he demonstrated in F1, in other lesser series. There is no doubt that in the two races in F1 he excelled, but the only reason I could see why he got the seat was the fact he is Japanese. I don’t think this is a false dawn from what we have already witnessed in F1, but the performances definitely surprised me based upon his racing history.


Good to see kobayashi get another chance in F1, he’s an exciting talent and if he brings that Panasonic money with him, he a team managers dream, i would have went and got him just for the cash


Historically, Japanese drivers have either gone stale very quickly or been somewhat accident prone – or both! It would be good to see this young Samurai break that mould while still retaining his fire.

Having been with Toyota for a couple of years, Kobayashi should be reasonably well versed in F1 corporate behaviour, too.

An experienced team mate will be helpful in judging him (and the car) consistently and should would also help prevent him losing his way by trying to lead a team too soon. Of the available drivers, Heidfeld would be my choice over Fisichella, as I believe him the quicker and better at development. De la Rosa could be a coup, though, taking the esteemed McLaren tester into Ferrari territory.


Excellent News – Go Koby!!

Where do I get a Koby cap??

James, just like to say, excellent website and keep up the fantastic work.


here here. its in my top five site everyday for f1 news.

the once great has nothing on this blog james. well done my friend.


The author of still covers F1, but he’s cultivating a blog like James is here.


Thank you


Who do you think will be the more likely to partner Kobayashi next year James?

Heidfeld or Fisichella? Personally I’m routing for Fisi!


Great news for all of us with Mobayashimania!

James, did you see that Andrew Benson on the BBC is recommending your book for Christmas? Mine is being delivery by the usual bloke in a red suit on the 25th!

Happy Christmas!


Thanks for that


I’ve completed your book James and its brill! Already looking forward to next years!

Paige Michael-Shetley

Kobayashi is a very curious case. There is no debating that his GP2 career was highly undignified; sure, you can argue that he didn’t exactly have the best car, but he was also beaten by a teammate who isn’t really on the F1 map right now. Yet he got into the F1 car- and one which was perhaps at the upper end of the mid-pack, at best- and did a very nice job with it.

Theoretically, this will help Peter Sauber secure some sponsorship money, which I suspect might be a part of this deal. We’ve already heard, for instance, that Panasonic wants to stay in F1.

Could this news have some implications for the Mercedes seat? Perhaps Schumacher really isn’t coming back, and they’ve chosen Heidfeld? Presumably, Sauber will be putting Fisichella in one of his seats as an accessory to the Ferrari engine supply deal.

Then again, there’s the open seat at Renault/Genii that Heidfeld could take.


James, any news on how long the contract is?

Peter’s usually a canny operator. He tied in Kimi for a few years, and lost Red Bull, but made a mint when he sold the contract to McLaren.

Hiring Kamui wasn’t the work of genius. After his debuts, it would have been downright potty if he hadn’t get a seat. I suspect he had a few choices, and was waiting to see if Sauber got the entry…


Thanks god, we can’t afford to miss on a talent like this one.

If he becomes a star, toyota are going to be sorry for quitting too soon.

Just imagine he becomes a gp winner, the lost marketing potential for the japanes giant.


Absolutely delighted with the news !

Peter Sauber thank you very much .


Think Koby is the most promising driver we’ve seen come out of Japan . . . though he has only had a couple of races. Great that Sauber is giving him a seat. Hope he does well.

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