Sauber retain Kobayashi and Perez for 2012

2012 F1 season

Peter Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez, Sauber C30 launch, Valencia, 2011

Peter Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez, Sauber C30 launch, Valencia, 2011

Sauber has confirmed Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez will remain with the team for 2012.

It will be Kobayashi’s third season with the team which he joined at the beginning of last year.

Peter Sauber said: “We are very pleased with our drivers.

“Kamui has grown into his role extremely well this year. Though it is only his second full Formula One season, he is already taking on the responsibilities that naturally fall to the more experienced driver in the team.

“We are delighted with him at both a sporting and a personal level. We had an option of working with him in 2012 and there was never any doubt that we would take it.

“Sergio has achieved more than one could expect from a rookie. From the very first race he proved that he is capable of driving not only fast but consistently as well.

“And after the accident in Monaco he demonstrated that he can handle difficult situations too. From the outset we had already signed a contract with Sergio that went beyond 2011. With a rookie that always entails a certain risk, of course, but clearly it has paid off.”

Kobayashi said he was “very proud” to remain with the team for another season.

“I want to thank Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn for putting their faith in me and the guys for all their work. In 2010 we had a very difficult season and some tough times. We managed to overcome this because we are a strong team.”

Perez said: “I want to thank Peter and Monisha that they trust me.

“Of course it is very good to have continuity and this way I can intensively prepare with my race engineer for what will be my second Formula 1 season. But for now I?m concentrating on finishing this season on a high. The summer break will be very good for me because since my accident in Monaco it has been a busy time.”

Esteban Gutierrez will continue as the team’s test and reserve driver.

See the full list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams

Image ?? Julien Leroy /

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81 comments on Sauber retain Kobayashi and Perez for 2012

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  1. slr said on 28th July 2011, 10:09

    Good move, Kobayashi and Perez have both done great jobs this year. Hopefully Sauber can repay them by giving them an even better car next year.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th July 2011, 10:27

      Agreed – once again Sauber proving to be one of the best teams at selecting and developing new talent.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2011, 11:32

      Yes, only reason for changing would have been if one of them went “upstairs”, these guys will be amazing with another year of experience under their belts.

      Its also interesting to note, that drivers now tend to get into longer contracts currently.

  2. Excellent. They’re both great young drivers. I just really hope Sauber can produce a car for next year that’s capable of at least tickling the podium every now and again.

  3. Ben Needham said on 28th July 2011, 10:16

    It surprises me that this announcement has come so very early – but both drivers have made sterling efforts and Perez has made quite an impact in his first year (both on F1 and the Monaco barrier!). Kobayashi is an amazing talent, his ability to drag the car into the points, nearly without exception, is quite astounding. I’m sure he’ll be in a top car soon enough, but I think Sauber is still the place to be for him. All in all, very pleased with the announcement.

    • unocv12 said on 28th July 2011, 13:51

      Keep the talent so that a schumacher less Mercedes drive or a Renault drive don’t take them.

      Unlikely, but signing them early is a sure sign and should give the drivers a good feeling

  4. F1 98 said on 28th July 2011, 10:20

    Which is better kobayashi or perez????????

    • The New Pope said on 28th July 2011, 18:59

      It is a bit early to tell for Sergio, so at this point, Kamui has the edge due to experience. In the long run, however, it may work out differently. They are certainly both talented drivers, and probably the most evenly matched teammates on the grid today.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th July 2011, 10:25

    This, and the recent announcement of Glock’s contract extension, suggests we’re not going to see any changes among the top teams.

    Montezemolo has said Ferrari will keep Massa, effectively ending doubt he might get shunted aside in another Raikkonen-type situation, and there are already rumours Webber and Red Bull have agreed terms for 2012.

    Now the teams lower down the order are firming up the contracts with the most favoured drivers as it becomes clear there will be few if any options to trade up next year.

    Still not clear what will happen at Renault with Kubica though. Boullier has been dropping hints about Grosjean recently and you could hardly blame him for being dissatisfied with his current line-up, though Petrov brings money and has a 2012 deal.

    Then there’s the question of whether Hülkenberg will find a place on the grid for next year as well.

    In many ways, I think we’re seeing an extended period of stability in the driver market after the seismic changes at the end of 2009.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th July 2011, 10:32

      This, and the recent announcement of Glock’s contract extension, suggests we’re not going to see any changes among the top teams.

      With Kobayashi and Perez staying for 2012, half the grid is now full. Well, eleven of the twenty-four seats; close enough.

      I can’t see too many driver changes for 2012, aside from one of the Renaults.

      • …always expect changes at HRT! Virgin’s second seat is up for grabs still. I think Williams will retain both drivers.

        Vijay Mallya says he will make a decision on December 15th (very precise!) – presume that will stay the same though, unless Sutil really screws up later on.

        Where Ricciardo slots in could be the main point of interest though.

        • Tom said on 28th July 2011, 13:18

          Virgin’s second seat for 2012 will either get filled by d’Ambrosio or Robert Wickens. Wickens does have the better racing record, but d’Amrosio hasn’t been doing that bad of a job for a rookie. He is ahead of Glock in the standings, but so was di Grassi…

          Virgin will likely start putting Wickens into the car for FP1 after the summer break, just to see how he stacks up against d’Ambrosio and Glock.

    • slr said on 28th July 2011, 10:41

      I’m not sure why Boullier is unhappy with his line-up. At best the Renaults can finish around 7th or 8th on merit, which is where mostly Heidfeld and Petrov have finished. If Boullier seriously believes that the car is good enough for 3rd or 4th, then he is delusional.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th July 2011, 10:42

        Petrov tends to finish lower than he qualifies and Heidfeld tends to qualify below the car’s level.

        • TFLB said on 28th July 2011, 11:49

          It’s not always Heidfeld’s fault that he qualifies so badly though, he’s had a lot of bad luck.

          • Alonso Fan said on 28th July 2011, 14:01


          • zecks said on 28th July 2011, 14:05

            You make your own luck. If heidfeld keeps being blocked it is be becuase either he didn’t leave sufficient gap from the car in front or the team sent him out in the wrong place.

        • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 28th July 2011, 21:23

          Exactly. Kubica was mixing in with the top teams last year. Petrov has improved, but is not as strong as he should be/possibly would have been with Kubica. Heidfeld’s also been very unreliable, and has missed out on Q3 too often.

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 28th July 2011, 11:03

      Keith, is there any more info on the Hulkenberg situation? I heard on the BBC coverage that he is fancied for one of the Force India seats next year?

      That could be a really tough decision because Di Resta has had a great start to his F1, but a huge amount of bad luck recently, and Sutil may have started slowly but his performance on Sunday at the ‘Ring shows that he is a solid F1 driver.

    • Girts said on 28th July 2011, 11:05

      Such a good summary definitely deserves COTD :D

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2011, 11:41

      It certainly looks like this is the sealing off of deals that were only waiting for chance options on something bigger to get closed.

      Renault stated they have Kubica and would take Grosjean, so they are more or less settled for next year.

      Only STR, Lotus and Virgin might have one seat they will want to change, as for HRT, I guess that will be certain during the winter testing approximately.

      • US_Peter said on 28th July 2011, 18:41

        I’d love to see Kubica and Grosjean at Renault, but can’t imagine that happening, they’ll probably want some stability. Though as Keith points out, Petrov has certainly been unimpressive post Australia.

    • TFLB said on 28th July 2011, 11:52

      I don’t think Hulkenberg will be on the grid next year, from what I saw in 2010 he’s no better thhan Sutil or di Resta and doesn’t bring money, unlike Sutil, and di Resta who I think brings a reduction on engine and KERS prices from

    • MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 28th July 2011, 12:32

      Hulkenberg’s place in FI may depend on whether Schumi will go on to complete his contract of 3 years or not. If not then maybe DiResta would move to Mercedes and Hulkenberg slot in beside Sutil.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 28th July 2011, 16:15

      Top teams will keep their drivers. Mercedes also, Renault may keep Petrov and leave Heidfeld. HRT might have two different drivers, Virgin one, maybe Sutil will leave FI, not much more.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th July 2011, 10:30

    I’m taking this as proof (in all but name) that Webber and Massa will be staying with their respective teams next year. Kobayashi and Perez are held up as the most-likely candidates for Red Bull and Ferrari.

    • Kate said on 28th July 2011, 10:47

      They were held up by a lot of people on the internet, but personally I doubt there was little, if any, of it based in reality. Perez is too inexperienced for Ferrari and the ‘Kobayashi is Japanese, he’ll be good for Red Bull marketing’ argument was flimsy to say the least.

      Not that I don’t agree that Massa and Webber are probably staying with their teams.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th July 2011, 14:11

        Until today they were, however, the highest-ranked drivers with no plans for 2012. It’s only natural to assume that if a seat was opened up at one of the front-running teams, then Kobayashi and Perez would be the first drivers considered to fill those vacancies.

  7. I agree that the main teams will maintain their current line-up. The Renault situation is more complex though, as you say. They are reportedly unhappy with Heidfeld – but who else would want to keep a seat warm for a few races before Kubica returns next year? Also, will Kubica be his old self? If he does return and Petrov beats him – then is his place safe? In fact – is Petrov’s seat even safe? I hope so as he has impressed me this year, much more consistency…

    • Tyson Evans (@bobtehblob) said on 28th July 2011, 14:04

      I’m really interested to see how Kubica goes to as well. Take Massa for instance, he was pretty woeful all last year after coming back and is only recently finding some form, but still no where near his 2008 pace.

    • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 29th July 2011, 2:21

      i agree kubica is kinda lottery for renault..many driver come back from the accidents but they arent quite the same .No one knows until he get back to f1 and drive the car

  8. Good pairing at Sauber, but Perez is ultimately destined for Ferrari.

    Other drivers whose 2012 seats are ‘uncertain’ are Heidfeld, Trulli, D’Ambrosio. Not seen much from those 3 drivers, despite the wide range of their experiences in the sport.

    • Deurmat said on 28th July 2011, 12:18

      D’Ambrosio is a rookie, what experience?… I hope he can prove himself next year in a better car. He is not doing bad against Glock this year…

      • That’s what I meant; ranging from Trulli: practically a veteran to D’Ambrosio, a rookie.

        But I agree with you about his performance with respect to Glock, not too bad.

  9. gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 28th July 2011, 10:49

    OK, so one more year in a middle-level team for KK. I am a bit… disappointed. I would have loved to see him in the LRGP.
    I always hope that the Sauber will play 1st violin soon, but even with KK and SP’s very good results, they remain in the 2nd group.

    • Girts said on 28th July 2011, 11:13

      Agreed, I believe Kobayashi has deserved at least a Mercedes drive. On the other hand, there are a couple of drivers (Glock, Kovalainen) who are arguably as good as KK and they even don’t have a car that they could fight for points with. But I think 2013 should bring some remarkable changes to the grid, let’s wait and see.

      • debaser91 said on 28th July 2011, 18:40

        Heikki had a chance in a championship winning car in ’08, he is a very likeable driver but I would rather see Kobayashi in a quicker car.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 28th July 2011, 13:16

      I was sure that Sauber was going to retain Kobayashi and Perez, as they are both stellar drivers. But I was hoping for one of the top teams to try and atleast poach Kamui. RB, Ferrari and Mclarenwant to stick with their current line ups, but I’m pretty sure Kamui would do a better job than both the Renault drivers and would definitely do a better job than one of the Mercedes drivers.

  10. Tom11 said on 28th July 2011, 11:05

    It will be announced Webber to stay at RBR this weekend I bet.

  11. peteleeuk (@peteleeuk) said on 28th July 2011, 11:15

    I’m thinking this news is better for Sauber than it is for Kobayashi. I believe he is ready for a top seat now and was hoping to see him in one next year.

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 28th July 2011, 12:35

      You’re not the only one mate; I’ve been hoping to see Kamui getting a chance at Ferrari, even if it was just a test.

      I know they’ve got plenty of development drivers but I reckon Kamui could do great things if he was given a few seasons in a top team and I’d love to see someone with his driving style in a Ferrari !

  12. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 28th July 2011, 11:31

    Perez will replace Massa after his contract ends.

    They were happy to pay off Raikkonnen in order to get Alonso, but paying off Massa in order to get Perez? Daft.

  13. Ral said on 28th July 2011, 12:01

    Hopefully, Kobayashi (and his manager?) can draw in some more substantial money from Japanese companies now that he is the only Japanese asset in F1 and is actually looking like he just needs a step up in equipment. That would be good for Sauber, for F1 as a whole, but most importantly, it would make him more attractive as well.

    Short of that, I’d have to say that was a no-brainer for both Sauber and Kobayashi/Perez to re-sign. I think both drivers and team have done a very good job this year so far. It’d just be nice if sponsors cottoned on to that as well and started pumping some money into the team to allow it to drag itself up the grid.

  14. Sergio Perez said on 28th July 2011, 12:19

    I think that this is a clever move by Sauber. I believe this is more to secure a “transfer fee” from any transfer of one of them to a top team. Remember, Ferrari announced a “shootout” between Perez and Bianchi, I think there’s something in there.

    Kobayashi is one of my favorite drivers on the grid, but, unfortunately, I don’t see any team showing interest for him. I would LOVE to see him on Webber’s Red Bull Seat. It would definitely open doors for Red Bull in Japan. I heard somewhere Panasonic or Toyota backed up Kobayashi’s entry in Sauber, I don’t know if Red Bull having Infinity sponsorship (Nissan) is a hurdle or a good sign for a future move for him.

    Either way, Sauber just warranted with this signings that if the drivers switch teams, they are going to get something for it. Of course if negotiations break they get to keep two of the most talented young drivers on the grid. Great move, definitely.

  15. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 28th July 2011, 12:30

    Personally I’m disappointed that there isn’t going to be a seat at one of the top teams next year for Kamui. but with most of the top places being retained by their incuments, there isn’t a lot of opportunity. So I think Sauber and Kobayashi have made the right decisions.
    This time next year, I’m sure we’ll see more driver changes with contracts winding up at one team and the end of a three-year experiment at another. That’s when we’ll a big change in the field. Buit I think next year’s grid is going to look remarkably similar to this year’s. The only real unknown is whether Kubica will make an effective return or not.

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