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Sauber retains Kobayashi and Perez for 2012 Formula 1 season

Sauber will retain its current drivers for 2012, with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez having agreed new contracts with the Swiss-based team

The duo have impressed this year, and the team announced on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix that it will continue with an unchanged line-up heading into next year.

Team principal Peter Sauber said: "We are very pleased with our drivers. Kamui has grown into his role extremely well this year. 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.

"We are delighted with him at both a sporting and a personal level. We had an option of working with him in 2012 and there was never any doubt that we would take it."

Perez already had a contract in place for 2012 after agreeing a multi-year deal before he signed, and Sauber said that the Mexican's pace this year had shown he was right to have faith in the youngster.

"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.

"From the outset we had already signed a contract with Sergio that went beyond 2011. With a rookie that always entails a certain risk, of course, but clearly it has paid off."

Perez said that having confirmation that he was remaining on board for next year would be a boost to his focus for the remainder of this campaign.

"Of course it is very good to have continuity and this way I can intensively prepare with my race engineer for what will be my second Formula 1 season," he said.

"But for now I'm concentrating on finishing this season on a high. The summer break will be very good for me because since my accident in Monaco it has been a busy time."

Sauber's decision to retain both its drivers comes amid an increasing likelihood that there will be no major driver changes at teams this year. Ferrari is the only outfit to officially confirm the identity of both its drivers, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa remaining on board.

However, Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Mercedes GP are almost certain to have unchanged driver line-ups next year too.

Sauber has also confirmed it will retain Esteban Gutierrez as its reserve driver.

"Esteban's career is advancing in steady strides," added Sauber. "After his commanding victory in GP3 it was a logical step for him to move up into GP2, where he has now taken his first win.

"He will then enter Formula 1 when he is ready for it. For us he has been a firm fixture of the team since 2010, and we will continue to support him on his way towards Formula 1."

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