Exclusive Q&A with BMWs Robert Kubica 05 Aug 2006
BMW Saubers Robert Kubica made a storybook start to his competitive Formula One career on Saturday, when he qualified tenth for the Hungarian Grand Prix, after stepping in for the injured Jacques Villeneuve. His performance vindicated those who had backed his move into the sport at the start of the year - Bernie Ecclestone and Mario Theissen among them. The man himself was excited with the result, but having already been racing for over a decade, his approach to the session was almost business as usual - it seems Polands first Grand Prix driver already knows this is only the beginning
Q: The story goes that when you were 12 years-old you visited your first Formula One race with your father here in Budapest, seeing Jacques Villeneuve win. Now, nine years later at the same place, you take over from that very same Jacques Villeneuve to make your Grand Prix debut. How do you feel about this strange coincidence?
Robert Kubica: When I was here nine years ago I didnt even dream of becoming a Formula One driver. I came here to see the fastest drivers in the world - and the fastest cars. Sure I knew that I wanted to be a race driver by then, but Formula One was something that was so above imagination that I didnt dare to think of it. But here I am, and now I am trying to give my best, to see that I learn the mechanisms of a race in the fastest possible time and to work on the physical demands. And yes, that my debut happens here holds strong memories.
Q: How did you learn that Lady Luck would come your way in Budapest and get you a race?
RK: My manager told me, so no big story behind it.
Q: You have always performed excellently during Fridays practice sessions, but competing for a grid position is something very different. You must be very happy with how it turned out - making the final shootout and finishing in the top ten
RK: I am absolutely pleased with how it went, as I had to get used to a qualifying modus I have never done before. And indeed Saturday is a big difference to Friday as the question of concentration and strategy plays a much bigger role. Sure the penalties imposed on Michael (Schumacher) and Fernando (Alonso) played to my advantage as I would not have been able to go into qualy three. But the team worked perfectly, we used three new sets of tyres and found the right balance for the car.
Q: Did you expect to be faster than team mate Nick Heidfeld?
RK: I would not have expected to be quicker here. The Hungaroring is a very demanding track, so its quite difficult to make a debut here. But then qualifying is a matter of one fast lap. Its the race result that counts.
Q: So what do you expect for the race?
RK: Well, for sure Michael and Fernando have a better pace so there will be quite some overtaking. But as we have seen everything can happen so I am very confident. As for the start I have trained that many times at test sessions, but the real thing - waiting for the green lights - is for sure another matter. So lets wait and see how it goes.
Q: Will we see you racing in Istanbul?
RK: For this you have to ask (BMW Motorsport Director) Mario Theissen.