Kamui Kobayashi has won the coveted Rookie of the Year Award at the renowned Autosport Awards. The visitors to the Autosport.com website, which has an audience of 1.5 million motorsport fans every month, voted and considered the Sauber driver’s performance, in what was his first full Formula One season, as outstanding. The 24-year old Japanese was delighted to receive the trophy at the gala event at London’s Grosvenor House hotel on Sunday night.

Kamui Kobayashi said: “I want to thank the readers and users of Autosport.com very, very much for their votes! Last year I attended the gala just as a guest, and now I am one of the awardees. Many good drivers have won this rookie award before me, and it is very nice for me to belong to that circle now. Obviously I will never have the chance to win this prize again because next year I’m not a rookie anymore. I will do my best to maybe come back one day to pick up one of the other trophies.”

Peter Sauber: “We are very proud of Kamui and it is a great pleasure and honour for us that the readers of Autosport have awarded his performance this way. Kamui has proved to be a true team player, especially in the first half of the season, which was technically very troublesome, and he has improved constantly over the course of the season. He has shown great performance and established himself against strong competition.”

The Autosport Awards have a great tradition. Starting in 1988, many legendary drivers and characters have attended, including Ayrton Senna, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sir Stirling Moss, and Dale Earnhardt, as well as most of the current Formula One drivers. Since 2000 the best ‘Rookie of the Year’ has been awarded. Among the winners have been the last three World Champions – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.