The Sauber team has today confirmed that it will retain its current driver pairing of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez for the 2012 season.
The team also used the announcement to confirm that the team’s 19-year-old reserve driver, Esteban Gutiérrez, would remain on board.
“We are very pleased with our drivers,” beamed team founder Peter Sauber, who added that the team had exercised its ‘option’ on Kobayashi’s services for the 2012 season.
“Kamui has grown into his role extremely well this year,” Herr Sauber added. “Though it is only his second full Formula 1 season, he is already taking on the responsibilities that naturally fall to the more experienced driver in the team.”
Pérez, who arrived at the team in conjunction with considerable sponsorship support from his native Mexico, had a fairly more straightforward path, with his original contract already going “beyond 2011”.
Sauber added: “Sergio has achieved more than one could expect from a rookie. From the very first race he proved that he is capable of driving not only fast but consistently as well. And after the accident in Monaco he demonstrated that he can handle difficult situations too.”
The announcement by the team seems to give rise to speculation that the driver market will remain fairly tight during the off-season, leading to few significant changes in driver line-ups between teams.
Ferrari had already publically declared a stable line-up of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa for 2012 (which few of the paddock wags believe, mind you), while it seems certain that McLaren, Mercedes GP and Red Bull Racing will retain their existing driver pairings.
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]