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Kobayashi and Perez to stay at Sauber in 2012 28 Jul 2011

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 23 July 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 23 July 2011 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Lotus ART 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sauber announced on Thursday that drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez will continue to race for the team in 2012. Reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez will also stay on board at the Swiss team next season.

“We are very pleased with our drivers,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “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.”

Kobayashi made his Formula One debut in 2009 for Toyota, filling in for an injured Timo Glock. He joined Sauber in 2010, impressing many with his raw pace and bold overtaking moves. This season he has scored 27 points and has finished in the top ten at seven races. He enjoyed his best finish - fifth - at May’s Monaco event.

“I’m very proud that I can drive another year for this team and I want to thank Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn for putting their faith in me and the guys for all their work,” said the 24 year-old Japanese driver. “In 2010 we had a very difficult season and some tough times. We managed to overcome this because we are a strong team.”

So far Perez has had a tumultuous debut Formula One season. He finished seventh at his first F1 race but his car was disqualified on technical grounds and he had to wait until the fifth round in Spain to take his first points. The Mexican 21 year-old missed the Monaco and Canadian races after a qualifying crash in Monte Carlo. He has scored eight points so far this season.

“Sergio has achieved more than one could expect from a rookie,” said Sauber. “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.”

Perez added: “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 One 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.”

Fellow Mexican Gutierrez, meanwhile, has been re-signed to Sauber for a third year in a reserve role. The 19 year-old is competing in GP2 this year.

“I feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to continue my relationship with Peter and all the people in the team,” he added. “I have been working on my development with the help of the team’s advice and on my racing in GP2 and other series. So I look forward to increasing my skills in a very professional way so as to take the step into the highest level of motor sports with the necessary experience to keep up the same rhythm as in my career so far.”

The Sauber trio will be at the Hungaroring this weekend for the Hungarian event.

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