F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi has signed a deal with BMW-Sauber to extend his contract into 2011. The Japanese driver started his first full season with the Swiss-based team this year after impressing for Toyota last year in the last two Grand Prix in Brazil and Abu Dhabi while deputising for Timo Glock.
Kobayashi started his career in Formula Toyota in 2003, before moving to Europe to compete in Formula Renault and Formula Three. After moving to GP2 in 2008, he spent two seasons there before completing the season in a Formula One car for Toyota, finishing ninth in the Brazilian Grand Prix after qualifying 11th and putting in a very competitive performance. He then scored his first F1 points by finishing sixth after qualifying 12th, leading to a contract with Sauber after Toyota left the sport.
After retiring in the first four races this season, he finished 12th in Spain, but then retired once again in Monaco. His first points of the season came in Turkey where he finished 10th, before hitting the Wall of Champions and retiring in Canada. He managed to finish the rest of the races so far, scoring 21 points from 13 races and lying 12th in the table.
Next season Sauber may be likely to field a more competitive car that may be able to challenge for podiums, and possibly even race wins. Until then, Kobayashi says he will be "focusing 100% on this year" and "hoping to make up more ground."
The other seat in the Sauber team, currently occupied by Spanish veteran Pedro de la Rosa who has scored six points this season, has not yet been confirmed.