Season review: Sauber


Constructors’ Championship: 6th
Points: 126


Sergio Pérez
Points: 66
Best qualifying: 4th
Best race result: 2nd

Kamui Kobayashi
Points: 60
Best qualifying: 2nd
Best race result: 3rd


  • Pérez challenging for the lead in Malaysia and finishing second.
  • Kobayashi qualifying and finishing third in his home Grand Prix.
  • Peréz’s second-place finish in Monza.
  • Every single one of Kobayashi’s overtakes (apart from the European Grand Prix incidents with Senna and Massa…)

When Pérez pitted for wets after the first lap in Malaysia he climbed back up to third by the time the race was red-flagged – no one expected him to stay there, let alone start closing on race leader Alonso in both wet and dry conditions. His mistake when he was on the back of the Ferrari was soon forgotten and he was rightly heralded as a future star. McLaren took note as well, and come the end of September it had signed the Mexican to replace out-going Hamilton.

However, it seemed that as soon as the ink on the contract had dried Pérez’s season started to unravel: DNF in Japan, 11th in Korea, DNF in India, 15th in Abu Dhabi, 11th in the USA and then a final DNF in Brazil. No wonder Martin Whitmarsh said that signing the young Mexican was a risk. There’s no denying his speed and Midas touch with the Pirelli tyres, but the British team has a lot of work to do with him over the winter break.

The story is much the same with Kobayashi – apart from the serious matter of not having a 2013 contract yet. The Japanese driver showed flashes of brilliance – like in Japan – but then seemed like an entirely different driver a week later – when he bundled into Rosberg and Button in Korea. However, if you think Pérez is the next big thing, then you must also believe that Kobayashi warrants a seat next year. Pérez may have grabbed more headlines in 2012, but Kobayashi was not far off the Mexican in terms of performance.

His fans certainly think he deserves a seat as they’ve raised more than 1.5 million euros towards it. An astonishing, and unprecedented, figure. Surely a number of Japanese companies would be interested in helping him progress in the sport? He’s the most exciting prospect from the country for quite some time. What’s more he’s popular, and sponsors quite like that.

Pérez’s 2013 season certainly looks brighter than Kobayashi’s, but it won’t be easy. He’s going to struggle to keep up with Button over a season, but then we all said that about Button when he went to ‘Hamilton’s McLaren’.

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