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BMW Sauber retain Kobayashi for 2011 07 Sep 2010

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) BMW Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) BMW Sauber C29. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010 (L to R): Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) BMW Sauber with Francesco Nenci (ITA) BMW Sauber Race Engineer on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010

BMW Sauber announced on Tuesday that Kamui Kobayashi will continue to drive for the team next season. Kobayashi has scored 21 world championship points so far this year and has made it into the top-ten qualifying shootout on three occasions.

“We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team - both as a driver and a person,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We never had any doubts about working with him again in 2011. Kamui has definitely fulfilled our expectations in terms of his speed and fighting spirit. Plus, his work with the engineers and his technical understanding has also developed very well.

“The experience he has built up over his first full season in Formula One will certainly stand him in good stead for 2011. And our aim is to give him a fast and reliable car from the outset next season.”

Kobayashi added: “We had a very difficult start to the season, but we’ve worked together to pull ourselves out of that situation. I feel very much at home in Peter Sauber’s team and am very pleased we’ll be working together again in 2011. However, for now I’m focusing 100 percent on this year. There are still six Grand Prix weekends to go in 2010, and we’ll be hoping to make up more ground.”

The 23 year-old started karting when he was just nine. After signing to Toyota’s young drivers’ programme, he competed in two seasons of Formula Renault from 2004, before switching to the Formula Three Euro Series. He won one race and stayed for 2007, ending the season fourth in the standings.

Toyota signed him as their Formula One reserve driver for 2008 onwards and, at the same time, Kobayashi competed in the GP2 Series in Asia and Europe. He claimed an early maiden win in the main GP2 Series, and over the winter of 2008-9 claimed the Asia title in convincing fashion.

Last season he sprang to prominence after replacing injured Toyota driver Timo Glock in the final two rounds of the Formula One season. He made his F1 debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix and acquitted himself well, finishing just outside the top eight. But at the season finale in Abu Dhabi he went one better, clinching his very first world championship points after a strong drive to sixth place. He promptly signed to race for BMW Sauber for the 2010 season, alongside Spanish veteran Pedro De la Rosa.

The team also revealed they will confirm who will fill their second race seat next season at a later date.