Kamui Kobayashi is confident his Sauber team can make progress up the grid in 2011, although he expects the level of competition to be much tougher next year.
After making a strong impression during his first full campaign, Kobayashi reckons Sauber has a strong platform to build from.
"I think so far the team has great potential to make another step for next year, and also myself I hope to have a better season from the beginning of the year," Kobayashi told AUTOSPORT. "We have to fight for the championship – not win the championship, but I hope we can fight for the middle of the field. I hope that is enough and I think we have a pretty good chance."
Despite his confidence that Sauber can move forward, Kobayashi thinks new regulations – and a more experienced field of drivers – will make things much closer.
"Driver-wise, it will be more competitive because there will be less rookie drivers for next year," he said. "I think it is quite competitive on the driver side, but on the car side, it will be a more difficult moment because there are so many changes in regulations and the tire changes are very big. So at the moment it is very difficult to say, but I think our car is going in the right direction for the new regulations."
Kobayashi still expresses some surprise that his exciting passing moves this year have caused such a stir.
"For me, there is nothing special," he said. "I just do normal races, with no accidents. I had quite a good season, with a bit of bad luck in the beginning of the year. But that is quite normal. After that I had no strange accidents, so it worked really well."