Kamui Kobayashi joins Sauber for 2010

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kamui Kobayashi impressed in his second race for Toyota at Abu Dhabi
Kamui Kobayashi impressed in his second race for Toyota at Abu Dhabi

Kamui Kobayashi will stay in F1 after being signed by Peter Sauber’s team for 2010.

The Japanese driver’s F1 career was in doubt after Toyota, who backed his career for many years and gave him his F1 break, pulled out of the sport.

Peter Sauber said Kobayashi’s performances at Interlagos and Yas Island has played a big role in his decision to add him to his 2010 F1 driver line-up:

I?m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui. 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.
Peter Sauber

It’s not clear whether Kobayashi has brought any sponsorship with him as part of the deal.

The deal means F1 will have at least one Japanese driver next year despite Kazuki Nakajima losing his seat with Williams and Takuma Sato failing to land a drive with Lotus.

Kobayashi said he was proud to be carrying on in Formula 1:

Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula One. Now this dream has come true. I am very happy that my two races in 2009 have earned me a cockpit place. I will do my very best for Peter Sauber?s team and I am proud to be able to carry on flying the Japanese flag in Formula One.
Kamui Kobayashi

Sauber press release:

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Kamui Kobayashi joins Sauber

Image (C) Toyota F1 World

70 comments on “Kamui Kobayashi joins Sauber for 2010”

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  1. The Sri Lankan
    17th December 2009, 22:10

    SWEEEEEET! i was hoping this guy would gat to race next year!

  2. Decent hire. But I like this hire a lot personally.

  3. Great news. Any idea who his teammate will be? I thought Quick Nick would be a shoo in, but it seems odd to announce Koby before Nick.

  4. interesting to note that he has been selected as their 1st driver even though he’s a rookie…

  5. Seriously, am I the only one who hasn’t jumped all over the Kobayashi news?

    Yes, he did have a very good set of races to end the year, and those were on short notice without much time to prepare. But still…the guy has raced in just two Grands Prix. I hate to sound too complicated, but in the two years I have been following F1, that’s the thing I have noticed msot about F1 fans….quick to praise guys who put in a good drive or two, and even quicker to tear down guys who put in a bad drive or two. Seriously, how many of you were calling for Massa to be fired from Ferrari after Sepang in 2008? C’mon, put your hands up so we can see you….

    With that in mind, I will save any comparisons with Schumi/Vettel/Alonso until he actually shows up and beats those guys on a consistent basis.

    1. To a point I agree. Kobayashi has it all to do next year at Sauber, now he has the chance to do so. But that is the point isn’t it, he HAS the chance in the first place!
      The most tragic thing about the demise of Toyota in F1 was that this young man may have missed his one and only chance to prove himself at the highest level. In the two events he took part in, he showed all the qualities most people look for in a racing driver.
      This is a just decision, and I wish him all the best.

      1. Yes, indeed you make good points. As I just said in the forum, I am just a bit curious to see how the press and fans react when he (like all drivers) has a few poor results this season. His debut was fantastic, about as good as a rookie can hope to do- with a car that was not a top machine. But with a debut like that comes increased expectations, which are very much magnified in the fishbowl that is F1.

        Best of luck to KK this season- I look forward to cheering him on.

        1. You are right about the ‘expectation’ being put on Kobayashi’s shoulders. Your earlier comparison about Felipe Massa was also very true, many people on this very site ‘DID’ call for the Brazilian to be fired back in 2008. The very same people, nine months later, lauded him for his remarkable turnaround and the way in which he took to fight to Lewis Hamilton.
          With Kobayashi though, I just get the impression that this is a man who has made his way in life under his own steam. Unlike Nakijima at Williams, Kobayashi’s link with Sauber does not intertwine with an engine partnership deal. He is not the son of a former F1 driver, which has become very fashionable in recent years. His success, although limited, has been achieved by his own ability and not spoon fed him.
          Also, and it bears mentioning, this guy was also an alsoran in GP2, the series we are told you have to win to stand a chance of driving a Formula One car.
          Nelson Piquet Jnr was, and still is, the best recent example of a former GP2 champion completely falling apart once put into a Formula One car. Many have criticised other drivers too, such as Grosjean who was supposed to be another Lewis or Fernando in the making.
          Then there was Sebastien Bourdais, who as we all know won so much in America in Champcars yet could not keep his F1 drive due to poor results.
          So, there are plenty of factors to consider, but you are right! There will be critics if Kobayashi flounders, and there will be those who criticise Peter Sauber too for hiring him. If anybody knows about baptisms of fire in a Sauber, then its Felipe Massa, and look at him now.

          1. I agree, but just one thing…Piquet Jr. was never GP2 Champion. He finished runner-up to Hamilton for the 2006 title.

  6. As far as I can recall this is the first time we have had a Japanese driver who has not been pushed in to the seat by a manufacturer or engine supplier.

    Let’s hope that without that pressure/Stigma he can get on with the driving and really show us what he is made of!

    1. I agree that is the first time i see a Japanese becoming a real F1 driver!
      And 2010 for the first time i wanna buy a ticket to see him on Suzuka Circuit.

      For me, the most important isnt a podium but a Show! Like the overtake he made on a Ferrari with experienced driver Fisichella.


  7. I hope Kamui turns into a star – his Macau pole position a few years ago may be his best accomplishment yet. Along with his brilliant Abu Dhabi race, I am thinking perhaps he’s a good street course talent. Seems most previous Japanese F1 drivers were somewhat the opposite, so maybe this is a good thing for him.

  8. Kamui I wish you all the best in the next season, I was really impresed with your first entrancr into F1, it’s nice to see a new racer in the pack

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