Kamui Kobayashi was asked to take on leadership responsibilities within Sauber in what was only his second full season in Formula 1 in 2011 pinning the team's hopes on the Japanese driver. And being crowned the leading rookie in 2010, it came as no surprise.
Unfortunately, an aspect of F1 in which he excelled suddenly found its importance significantly diminished in 2011. Kobayashi's widely admired overtaking skill was devalued by the advent of the Drag Reduction System. The adjustable rear wing allows drivers less gifted in the art of overtaking to pull off passing moves, but Kobayashi would never use this reality to bolster his own case.
His F1 career started at the end of 2007 when Toyota had signed him as their reserve driver for 2008 and soon stepped up to a race seat. At the season finale 2009 Abu Dhabi GP, he distinguished himself as the best of the drivers on a one-stop strategy. It was his combative skills that stood out and also displayed his astuteness in implementing a strategy. Peter Sauber has a keen eye for burgeoning talent and made his move. The Japanese rookie did not disappoint in 2010 and overcame a number of technical retirements to collect 32 points.
In 2011, Kobayashi had a promising first half to the season but the team's progress then stalled as it endured a difficult period on a technical level. However, the Japanese driver was still able to pick up two points in Brazil to end the season on a positive note.