Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Kobayashi to stay at Sauber
Kobayashi to stay at Sauber
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Sep 2010   |  7:56 am GMT  |  103 comments

Kamui Kobayashi has done enough to secure his place in Formula 1 with Sauber for 2011, the team announced this morning.

The 23 year old Japanese driver has proved a firm favourite with fans all over the world for his fighting spirit and although we didn’t see much of it in the early part of this season, when the Sauber car was disappointingly slow and unreliable, in recent races he has been able to show a little of his flare.

Kobayshi stays at Sauber (Darren Heath)

He has 21 points on the board from points finishes in Istanbul, Valencia, Silverstone, Budapest and Spa.

A highlight was his performance in Valencia, where he tried a different strategy from the rest and started the race on hard tyres from 18th on the grid. Staying out when the safety car was deployed for Mark Webber’s accident he ran in third place for most of the race and after a late tyre stop was able to fight and pass Fernando Alonso for 7th place. His drive to 6th at Silverstone was also very strong.

If he has had a problem it has been in qualifying where he has only managed to beat his team mate Pedro de la Rosa on five occasions in 13 races and has found himself struggling to make Q2 at times. It will be in this area in particular that he will need to improve next season.

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

Kobayashi burst into F1 at the end of last season as a stand-in for Timo Glock at Toyota. His battling performances in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, where he took on some of the big names from the sport, including a furious dice with Jenson Button, won him admirers among the fans and caught the eye of Peter Sauber.

There is no word on De la Rosa’s prospects of staying with the team.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

When I look at Kobayashi, I always wonder; is he Hamilton in a bad car?

1) So far he has beaten team mates as much as Hamilton has.

2) He has the racecraft and the dare to pull it off.

3) He came into F1 into a mid field car and did better than the car can.

I don’t expect to see Hamilton in a HRT. But I hope Sauber gets more money and produce a good car for 2011.


And a long season it promises to be… I remember when there were 16 races a season. That isn’t enough for F1 fans.

I don’t want Nascar numbers (I think they have 36 races!), but 20 is a good balance, to give the fans enough F1, but to not drive up the cost of participation.

The 2011 Formula One calendar, published on Wednesday by the ruling motorsport body FIA.

March 13 Bahrain GP

March 27 Australian GP

April 10 Malaysian GP

April 17 Chinese GP

May 8 Turkish GP

May 22 Spanish GP

May 29 Monaco GP

June 12 Canadian GP

June 26 European GP

July 10 British GP

July 24 German GP

July 31 Hungarian GP

August 28 Belgian GP

September 11 Italian GP

September 25 Singapore GP

October 9 Japanese GP

October 16 Korean GP

October 30 Indian GP (pending homologation)

November 13 Abu Dhabi GP

November 27 Brazilian GP

Thomas in Australia

JA, how about running a “design the 2011 Sauber Livery” competition? The best 5 can be forwarded to Peter S.

There have been so many beautiful cars over the years. The white Sauber seems like such a waste.

F1 needs an orange car!


The most recent Orange car I recall was an Arrows – just as they were tipping into bankruptcy. Other than that, orange reminds me of the equally-ill-fated Braniff airline colour schemes of the late 70s!


Fantastic idea!


I agree with the general sentiments here – with a decent car under him, what an exciting driver to watch. So let’s just hope that Sauber can put a decent car under him for next season …


Great news – he has helped to make this season more interesting.


I am surprised of Sauber’s lack of sponsorship given that Kobayashi is probably the very first Japanese driver to be on an F1 grid purely on merit. No Japanese driver before Kob could honestly have landed an F1 seat without commercial considerations. Ironically, now that there is the prospect of a genuine Top 10 driver from Japan, no sponsors are forthcoming. Is that a reflection of a lack of popularity of F1 in Japan? Or lack of success of the Sauber Marketing team to close a deal? Does the Marketing department even have a Japanese salesperson on board?


I couldn’t agree more. What we are seeing here is a Japanese version of Montaya who can overtake champions in inferior machinery.

And when there is no sponsor you have to say some people are not doing their job.


I don’t think that’s the case. First of all Peter Sauber has stated a few times in interviews he will only sell sponsorship at a fair price, whereas some other teams are simply taking some crappy deal and painting their cars that colour.

Furthermore, Kobayashi is not part of the business elite in Japan, his father is a sushi chef, a profession that would be looked down upon by many businesspeople (no matter how successful he is) and therefore they would be less likely to part with the dough.

The fact that he has gotten so far is amazing, and if he succeeds it will only be good for F1 in Japan.


I can’t comment on Sato or Nakajima, but Yamamoto is from one of Japan’s richest families. Hence his backing comes from Daddy.

Japanese companies are really hurting right now, so I’m not surprised that getting sponsorship from them is really hard, hopefully if he keeps driving well the money will come, but it is definitely a lot harder now than it was even a few years ago.


Japanese drivers are a mystery. Remember at the end of 07 when Toyota pumped their boy Nakajima into Williams. And the various backing Sato has had. And even now, Yamamoto, who is pretty pish, is sponsored up to the eye balls. Hows did this boy Kamui go unoticed with no dollar behind him? He’s bloody talented.


That’s a great point mate. All these rubbish over hyped jobs that arrive just because of having big backers with them is morally wrong when there’s guys like heidfeld, ant davidson, Christian klien and others on the sidelines


Amazing to think that there is a very good chance that we would never have seen Kobayashi in F1 if Glock hadn’t crashed in qualifying in Suzuka.


Fine performance from Kobayashi this season and a well deserved seat for 2011. His momentum has been escalating race by race. This man has overtook world champions and held his line by merit.

Kamui, the fiery racer, another surprise from Monza!

Wish him well and a great future.


James I agree totally about kobayashi not bring in alonso’s class but you do u think is the next big thing in f1. I watched pastor maldonado dominate gp2 this year but have not been that impressed over the years with jim


Don’t see a mega at the moment, Bianchi had great write ups but his season in GP2 isn’t going to plan. We can’t be unhappy, there are some very high quality young drivers in F1 now


I have a firm eye on Ricciardo. I’m surprised both STR drivers will be retained next year with the way he has performed.


I agree with you. Disappointing for Ricciardo


I had much hope in Hulkemberg this year but the guy has dissapointed me.


My personal opinion Kobayashi is the pick of the drivers. Since Singapore 09 he did nothing but amazed us with his pure hard racing. Previous to this we had Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica and Vetel. Now this year and especially the next we have:

1. Schumacher

2. Alonso

3. Hamilton

4. Kubica

5. Kobayashi

6. Vetel

7. Button (he has been a revelation this year)

8. Sutil (I still feel Ferrari should sign him)

As far as Kobayashi is concerned I feel he is a sensible version of Vetel with Hamilton’s furiosity… A combination that deserves respect and better machinery.

Peter Sauber has been immaculate in talent indentification… he is the one who gave us Kimi Raikkonen…. making him take the unconventional route into F1. So when Peter Sauber signs a driver… on should behold and watch him closely.


I’d almost completely agree with this list of true ‘racers’ in F1. I wouldn’t include Vettel or Button though.


Yeah I defo wouldnt include Vettel or Button on that list. Button is a good overtaker but clearly a few tenths behind Lewis.

Lewis, Schumacher, Alonso, Kubica, Sutil and Koba, those are drivers you just love to watch.


Agreed. Vettel doesn’t deserve that title. Button, maybe. Kobayashi definitely does, and the others go with out saying.


Bruno Senna for the second seat?

The guy has shown how fast he is, during his test with Honda he was set for the second seat alongside Button, until the manufacturer decided to pull out.


What was the story with Senna’s helmet in Spa? I was dismayed to find even HE has tampered with helmet design!


Sorry Phil, but who’s Senna’s benchmark? Yamamoto?

He wasn’t that great in GP2 and I think he is in F1 solely based on his surname until he proves himself with a worthy driver alomg side him.

He also crashed in Spain being ‘racy’. He definitely needs to try harder.


I’m going nowhere near his season with the HRT. I think at times he’s tried to hard in a car that isn’t up to it.

But at the end of 2008, it was him, another driver and Barrichello (I can’t remember his name now!) fighting for the second seat at Honda, and Senna comprehensivly outpaced both him and Rubens. It was widely regarded that Senna would get the seat. Then Honda pulled out, and Brawn decided they needed experience, so sticking with the older Brazilian.

On that basis, not his HRT efforts, I believe he deserves a shot in a better car!


Senna has been disappointing this year. Karun Chandhok really made him look like an amateur at times, and I am by no means a fan of either.


Like most Kobayashi fans, I was silently wondering whether he might make a shock 2nd year upgrade to a bigger team (like Kimi moving to McLaren in ’02), but hopefully he can consolidate next year and have an upward career path like ex-Sauber alumni Raikkonen and Massa rather than the other group of ex-Sauber pilots Heidfeld, Fisichella, etc. Looking forward to see if he can repeat his Brasil & Abu Dahbi overtaking feats again this year on those circuits. And a future Ferrari tie-up would be an interesting combination…

James – 2 questions:

1. Do you think Sauber has the right environment and structure to develop a rookie driver? Historically they have a tendency for/reliance on mid-late career drivers.

2. Given the new 2011 regs (with little carry over from this year) and the absence of BMW exit funds, do you think the Sauber C30 package can move up the grid?


I think they’ve always encouraged rookies like Massa, Raikkonen and Kubica so fair play to them. Sauber now has a much stronger technical management under James Key, but the key for them is to get some money in, as I’m sure they can’t afford to run another season with a white car


If they can haul a few places back in the constructors champ, that will be a big help to them for next year too. With some solid drives they can overtake Williams and Force India for 6th.


I think it is a wise move on both sides to be honest.

He has shown sufficient potential to be given the drive for next season by Sauber.

Similarly, Sauber have been able to turn around what was a dire start to the year, and with James Key seemingly helping on the technical direction.

Too many young drivers dont get enough of a chance to develop in the sport now at a lower echelon team.

If he gets a couple of seasons additionally with Sauber in a steadily progressing team, then give him a chance at a top drive.


^yeah or Renault both of which have a better/faster car than Sauber. That said, Sauber claims to have sufficient backing to ensure a competitive car for ’11’. Put a fast car in Kobay’s hands and look out…this kid is fast and has no fear…BANZAI!


Excellent news! Kobayashi is quickly becoming one of my favourite drivers… The first Japanese driver with a real shot at a WDC imo.


I hope so


I think IF Force India were interested in him, he should have joined there, either as Sutil’s teammate or his replacement.(Sutil to Renault rumors)

I think FI with Mercedes engines, Mclaren technical tie-up, and almost gauranteed KERS system next year is a better bet than Sauber. And FI do need a aggressive driver just to give an extra push when there is an opportunity for fighting top positions. It would have been a win-win situation for both parties.


Happy for him, Kobayashi seems to have come more into his own and given a better account of himself now that Sauber has seemingly sorted their car out. Hopefully he’l play a big part in getting some much needed sponsorship onto their cars to ensure the teams survival.

Talking of which James, im told today is when the FIA will announce who the 13th team, if any, will be. Have you gotten any intel on who might get it?


Either Epsilon, or Villeneuve or no-one. I think it’s a very tall order, frankly, for a new team without the backing of an Air Asia or a Virgin.


Looking at the troubles of Hispania and the former US F1, do you think the FIA will err on the side of caution rather than the optimism which led to the four new teams?


You know, sometimes you just like a driver when he has entered the F1 scene. Immediately that was the case for me with Kobayashi.

I watch the GP’s on Dutch tv and the commentators were making a little bit of fun about this guy because he wasn’t really any good in GP2 and was creating a lot of accidents. So, to be honest I wasn’t expecting that much from him.

But during his two races he drove for Toyota he showed more fighting and racing spirit than most other drivers. And although he wasn’t rewarded during his first GP, he showed maturity in his driving and bringing home some points in the second GP.

Somehow that seemed a little lost in the first few races this year, but he was also unlucky that Kubica bumped into him at the Spanish GP. It seems like that GP was the real turning point in his season and he started to reel in some good results.

For me he is my favorite underdog. I hope he can sort out his qualifying difficulties, because that is the only part that is missing still. If he sorts that part out, I think we could be in for a couple of surprises from this guy.


Could it be that the GP2 machinery couldn’t handle his kind of fighting and racing spirit?


Good point. I could also be argued that Nelson Piquet Jr was the exact opposite. Brilliant in GP2 and useless in F1.



You think that Symonds was a scapegoat?

He acknowledged that he played a significantly role in the incident, but claimed that the idea came from Piquet.

As for Mr X, Piquet claims that he knew nothing about it, and Symonds has never claimed that he had any involvement. There is no evidence in the public domain to suggest that he was involved, so it should be a case of innocent until proven guilty.

I am surprised that the moderator let such an allegation slip through.


To be fair he wasn’t exactly given a fighting chance in F1, his manager and team boss being Alonsos “father” Flavio. I know nobody likes him after crash gate, but I lay the blame firmly with Flavio And Mr X (Alonso, who clearly knew about it). Symonds was a scape goat and a bloody good guy.

I’d like to see him get a fair chance. I’d like bourdais to have another shot too!


I felt that way about Alesi


Yes! For some reason I hadn’t realised the similarity before, but I always used to say that Alesi was the one driver you could enjoy watching no matter what non-points-paying position he was battling for, and that’s Kobayashi all over. Maybe not the best, but always entertaining.


Let’s hope Kobayashi does not always end up in the wrong team at the wrong time.

Alesi was extremely exiting and yet only scored one win. Crazy.

Did the battle Kobayashi/Button remind you of Phoenix 1990 with Senna and Alesi battling for the lead? I was on 12 but these are long lasting memeories.


I was at that race in 1990. It was the only time I saw Senna race live. The track was awful, perhaps the worst of all time, Phoenix in that era was almost as bad, and it was over 95 degrees F. in March. I stayed in a flea bag motel next to the track with not attractive prostitutes doing tricks all night. Only the Alesi/Senna battle and the 64 ounce Margaritas saved the weekend. Hopefully Austin will be better.


Thats good news. He has clearly shaded delarosa in the race trim. He is not going to win championships but he will be a real value for exciting overtaking moves.


You mean in a Sauber?

I think it’s too early to come to any conclusion.

When Alonso was in Manardi, no one thought he was capable of winning championships.


Well you have to read my comment again. I said “he is not going to win championships but he will be a real value for exciting overtaking moves”


“When Alonso was in Manardi, no one thought he was capable of winning championships.”

I beg to differ. He annihilated his team-mate, beat Benettons, BARs and Arrows in a Minardi, and had already got Flav on board as his manager before hitting F1.

I think a lot of people were very impressed by young Alonso, more so than they seem to be by Kobayashi.



“I’m genuinely interested in this comment: do you mean that you don’t think, for instance, that the guys who consistently win are better than those who don’t?”

I think you misunderstood it. Of coz I think the winners are the better drivers. What I meant was that Schumacher, for instance, knew that Alonso was good when he was only a test driver. I mean how does he know that? I assume he or other F1 drivers or journalists can tell which driver is punching above the car by looking at the way they enter a corner and the exit. I simply can’t. They all look almost identical. I carefully watched Schumacher on-board qualifying lap at Bahrain 2006 and Alonso on-board qualifying lap at Bahrain 2005. Schumacher braked a lot earlier than Alonso who turned in more aggressively. But if they were some unknown drivers how would I know they were on the limit.


@For Sure: “But Kovi is like a only a few months in F1, he overtook a world champion and beat Alonso in a Ferrari with vastly an inferior car.”

Kobayashi overtook Alonso IMHO due to tyre strategy, and good on him. If you recall, a young Irvine overtook Senna at Suzuka (and got rousted by Senna for doing so!), but again there are always circumstances where, on a particular day at a particular track, this will happen.

I’d love Kobayashi to mature and win a championship. He might do it. But I don’t believe that will make him “another Alonso” in the way in which Alonso is being talked-about here.

“I race karts and honestly can’t tell if one driver is better than another by looking at the way they drive. I guess insiders can.”

I’m genuinely interested in this comment: do you mean that you don’t think, for instance, that the guys who consistently win are better than those who don’t?


Oh really? That’s interesting.

But Kovi is like a only a few months in F1, he overtook a world champion and beat Alonso in a Ferrari with vastly an inferior car. So I don’t understand how Alonso looked more impressive. I guess James knows something I don’t. I race karts and honestly can’t tell if one driver is better than another by looking at the way they drive. I guess insiders can.


I also disagree with the Alonso comment. I was saying back then (and even when he was in F3000) that the guy was different class and so were many others. Kobayashi is cool, but he’s not another Alonso


Really delighted for him. A great prospect for the future.


This is great news:). Glad he’s staying at Sauber too as i feel that they offer just the right environment for his career to move forward at the correct pace! Hopefully Sauber can provide him with a better car next year so he car progress further. Not sure about anyone else on here but i also reckon that De La Rosa has been a good team mate for him this year, not too fast, loads of experience with larger teams albeit as a test driver. Happy days ahead:)


Pedro has had a lot of unreliability and bad luck, as Kamui has. I hope there’s still time for DLR to get himself the seat next year – for me he’s done a better job than Schumacher.


I second Pedro.

With all those years of development work and testing at McLaren, surely he’ll give invaluable input into the design of next year’s car.


3rd that, DLR is a good head for Sauber and will only help bring Kob on.


awesome news, love me some kobayashi, total dude


5-8 doesn’t seem bad on the qualifying stakes, it’s certainly better than the likes of petrov and jenson button.


But, on the down side, De La Rosa doesn’t has reputation as a strong qualifier.


To be fair though, Pedro only had 9 f1 races prior to this year and he was up against kimi who was pretty quick in 2006. Kobayashi is practically a rookie and is up against someone who has been testing f1 cars for the last 6 years. I think he’s doing a decent job.


My mistake! Duly noted!


9 F1 races?! You need to check your facts matey. 9 F1 races in a Mclaren perhaps. Only 63 others on top of that though.


Hurrah! Great news. Love the guy!

Top Tags