Kobayashi signs new Sauber contract

Sauber have re-signed Kamui Kobayashi for next season.

Following a tough start to his first full campaign in Formula One, with the Japanese driver retiring in six of the first eight races, Kobayashi has since produced an impressive string of results.

It has allowed Kobayashi, who celebrates his 24th birthday after this weekend's Italian Grand Prix on Monday, to move up to 12th in the drivers' standings with 21 points.

Team principal Peter Sauber said: "We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team, both as a driver and a person.

"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 have 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, whose best result this year was sixth in the British Grand Prix in July, believes he has adapted well within the team.

"We had a very difficult start to the season, but we've worked together to pull ourselves out of that situation," said Kobayashi.

"I feel very much at home in Peter's team and am very pleased we'll be working together again in 2011.

"However, for now I'm focusing 100% on this year. There are still six grand prix weekends to go in 2010, and we'll be hoping to make up more ground."

With only six points to his name, from finishing seventh in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Pedro de la Rosa's future is unclear, with Sauber to make an announcement on his second driver at a later date.