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.”
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