Scratch off one 2011 seat: Kamui to stick with Sauber

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If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then the shot accompanying the Sauber team’s release that Kamui Kobayashi will stick with the team for the 2011 season means it stinks to be Pedro de la Rosa.

Feel free to have a quick look. We can wait.

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Ouch, huh? Kamui looks as serious as a late Ferrari pass of another Ferrari, though.

Seriously, although Kamui may have disappointed those of us who had unrealistically high expectations for him after his fearless driving to close the 2009 season, this seems like a smart move by Sauber. Here’s some of what they have to say:

“We enjoy having our rookie as part of the team – both as a driver and a person,” says team principal Peter Sauber. “We never had any doubts about working with him again in 2011.” And Sauber continues: “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.”

Kamui adds: “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 one-hundred per cent on this year. There are still six grand prix weekends to go in 2010, and we’ll be hoping to make up more ground.”

I tend to agree with Sauber that Kamui should do better next year when he is familiar with the tracks from the cockpit of a Formula 1 car. Perhaps we will get a taste as the season closes out on a familiar circuit or two for the young driver.

Does anyone out there think this is a bad move? Maybe for Kamui? But where would he go that’s better? Would Renault have given him a look?

Noticeable about the Sauber release is the final line: “The team’s second driver for the 2011 season will be announced at a later date.”

Like I said, stinks to be Pedro. He’s done, right? Who might partner with Kamui? Would you bring in Karun Chandhok? Try to entice Adrian Sutil?

I’ll be interested to see how Pedro responds this weekend.

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