Kamui Kobayashi has acknowledged that heading into his second campaign of top flight competition in F1 2011, he can no longer hide behind the shield of 'rookie mistakes' – and as such, he admits, his principal goal for the season ahead is to eradicate the errors.
From his 21 races in F1 to-date – all-bar two of them with Sauber – Kobayashi has earned himself a reputation for being fast but occasionally wild, although over the second half of 2010, he seemed to calm down somewhat as he tallied eight points-scoring finishes from the last 13 grands prix, in so doing securing 32 of the Hinwil-based outfit's 44 points from the campaign.
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting drivers to have joined the grid in recent years and already a favourite amongst fans, the young Japanese ace is bidding to improve even further in 2011 – and new team-mate Sergio Pérez is hoping to learn a lot from Kobayashi's approach as he prepares to make his own debut this year.
“My rookie season is now behind me,” stressed Sauber's new elder statesman. “I learned a lot, gained a lot of self-confidence and my target for 2011 is not to make any mistakes.”
“I'm aware of how challenging F1 is from both a driver's point-of-view and technically,” added reigning GP2 Series runner-up Pérez, whose first test outing at the highest level came in Abu Dhabi last November and who is a member of Ferrari's young driver academy. “Obviously the dream is one day to drive for Ferrari...[but] my main job is with Sauber, and Ferrari knows this very well.
“I've got a lot to learn, and in Kamui I have an excellent yardstick. My personal goal is to make steady progress. The support I'm getting back in my home country is huge – the whole country has waited a long time, 30 years, since we had a Mexican in F1, and I don't want to disappoint anyone over there either.”
The recently-turned 21-year-old, indeed, is not the only Mexican driver at Sauber in F1 2011, with inaugural GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutièrrez remaining on-board on the testing and reserve strength.
“I've still got a long way to go,” the 19-year-old conceded, “but ever since the two days of testing with Sauber, at the end of 2009 and the end of 2010, F1 has been my goal.”
TO SEE MORE PICTURES FROM THE LAUNCH, CLICK HERE