Kobayashi signs for Sauber

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Kamui Kobayashi has avoided a return to working in his father's sushi restaurant after landing a Formula One drive with Sauber for next year.

Kobayashi performed brilliantly for Toyota in the final two races of last season in deputising for Timo Glock, who sustained a leg injury following a heavy crash in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

After the 23-year-old Japanese finished ninth in Brazil and a superb sixth in Abu Dhabi, he appeared certain to be handed a permanent drive with Toyota.

However, their withdrawal threw his plans into disarray and he remarked at the time if he did not continue in F1 then he would have to consider working for his father again.

But Peter Sauber, who is once more in full charge of his own team after recently concluding a buy-out deal with BMW, is happy to hand Kobayashi a deserved chance to further prove his talent.

"In the final two grands prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it," said Sauber.

"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, who has previously competed in Formula Renault, Formula Three Euro Series, GP2 and GP2 Asia, winning the latter title last year, is naturally thrilled to be continuing his career in F1.

"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."