Kamui Kobayashi joins Sauber for 2010

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

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70 comments on Kamui Kobayashi joins Sauber for 2010

  1. baboon said on 17th December 2009, 15:42

    i dont think Peter really impressed by Kamui’s performance in last two grand prix. All he want is Panasonics money. Peter was only talking about using experienced driver for next year at the time he toke over BMW. Im not sure Kamui will drive full season next year

  2. jess reed said on 17th December 2009, 15:53

    That is great I was hopeing for him to get a seat. Nice to see the line up filling out.

  3. wasiF1 said on 17th December 2009, 16:39

    I am happy to see him in a race seat.

  4. good and brave decision. BTW Sauber also gave such chances to massa and kimi. Sauber is good at picking promising talents it seems.

    All the best kobayashi and sauber team.

  5. Sauber has a penchant for spotting talented young drivers, I can’t imagine why another team didn’t snap him up while Sauber was in F1 limbo.

    Good for both of them!

  6. BANZAI!!! Great to see Kobyashi got a drive, I’ve been raving about him since Brazil. It makes it even better that he’s going to Sauber giving everyone another reason to support that great team.

  7. ILoveVettel said on 17th December 2009, 18:15

    I am so very happy for him… Hope he does not do a Nakazima..

  8. José Baudaier said on 17th December 2009, 20:37

    Go Kobayashi!!!

  9. Gwenouille said on 17th December 2009, 21:02

    Excellent! I have rarely been so enthusiastic about a newcomer. I hope Sauber will be a good team so that he can show what he is capable of. Strange that he made such a strong impression in f1 after an average GP2 career…

  10. Wesley said on 17th December 2009, 22:01

    This guy impressed all of us didn’t he?F1 needs more drivers like Kobayashi now that Montoya is gone.Congrats Kamui!

  11. The Sri Lankan said on 17th December 2009, 22:10

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. sato113 said on 18th December 2009, 3:22

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

  15. 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.

    • The Limit said on 18th December 2009, 15:56

      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.

      • 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.

        • The Limit said on 18th December 2009, 18:03

          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.

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

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