BMW Sauber F1 Team driver announcement
Kamui Kobayashi has been signed on as a BMW Sauber F1 Team driver as of season 2010. The 23-year-old Japanese drew attention to himself in 2009 with two strong performances as a substitute driver for Toyota.
“I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui,” said Peter Sauber. “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.”
Kobayashi hadn’t been inside a Formula One race car for seven months when he climbed into the Toyota cockpit for free practice in Suzuka on 2nd October 2009. Two weeks later he was contesting the first of his two Formula One races to date. His debut race in Interlagos saw him finish in ninth place (11th in qualifying), falling just short of the points. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi he started from 12th place, made his mark as best driver on a one-stop strategy, and crossed the line in sixth to collect three points. Both races highlighted his prowess in head-to-head battles.
“Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula One,” said Kobayashi. “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 was born on 13th September 1986 in the Japanese city of Amagasaki. He took up karting at the age of nine. Toyota’s Young Drivers’ Programme was the passport to Formula Renault in 2004 and 2005, after which he took part in the Formula 3 Euro Series, winning the race in Magny-Cours, France in 2007. Further podium places earned him fourth place in the final rankings – and with it promotion. At the end of 2007, Toyota had already signed him on as a Formula One reserve driver from 2008 on.
At the same time, Kobayashi was competing in the GP2 Series in Asia and Europe in 2008 and 2009. He claimed an early maiden win in the European GP2, and in winter 2008/2009 he took a convincing title in the GP2 Asia.
Kamui Kobayashi lives in Paris. He speaks Japanese and English. He is 1.70 m tall and weighs 63 kg.
source: bmw-sauber.com / kamui-kobayashi.com