Talented young Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi has been retained by Sauber for the 2011 season. The news was released today, when team owner Peter Sauber spoke of how impressed they were with the 24-year old.

“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,” the team principal said.

“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,” Sauber added.

“We had a very difficult start to the season (DNF in first four races), 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,” Kobayashi said.

Kobayashi made his F1 debut with Toyota in last year’s Brazilian GP and went on to finish sixth in his second race, the Abu Dhabi GP, impressing both the paddock and F1 fans with his gutsy driving. He has scored 21 points so far this season, 15 points more than more experienced teammate Pedro de la Rosa. And to think that he nearly went home to roll sushi in dad’s restaurant because he didn’t have a race seat!