Exclusive interview with Robert Kubica 15 Sep 2006
With his third place in Italy, BMW Saubers Robert Kubica wrote his name into the history books - as the first Polish driver to appear on a Formula One podium. And with a level headedness that belies his 21 years, Kubica is certain that his Monza experience was just the first of many that will follow
Q: On the podium in only your third Grand Prix - had you dared to even dream about such a result?
Robert Kubica: I am not a dreamer and I know that successful results are mainly built before the race and in part during it. I had a good start and a consistent race and I think that the podium was well deserved. This was a consequence for the good job done with the team during the tests and free practices.
Q: And what a historic podium it was, with Michael Schumacher announcing his retirement and Kimi Raikkonen being confirmed as his replacement. What did you feel, standing up there with all the frantic fans underneath?
RK: My first emotion was happiness, and also great satisfaction for giving my team an important result. My first podium has been with them, and I can tell you it was a special feeling for me.
Q: When you were a third driver, some members of the press suggested that the team always sent you into Friday practice with a light car, hence your strong results were not truly representative. It must have been nice to silence these critics
RK: Exactly. Only the teams can judge the value of the Friday drivers because they have the true knowledge of their car conditions. I have read many times wrong or superficial comments in that sense and I am surprised of that. Do you think that if my Friday results would have been artificial, my team would have given to me a racing opportunity?
Q: Your fantastic result catapulted BMW-Sauber ahead of Toyota in the constructors championship - good news for the team in both the sporting and, potentially, the financial sense. There must be a lot of happy faces now...
RK: I am of course happy of contributing in the championship ranking of my team, but just from a sporting point of view. I am sure that the happy faces of my mechanics and engineers were not due to money issues.
Q: Some said your disqualification from seventh place in your first race in Hungary was down to your inexperience. You have obviously learned very fast - how big was the disappointment of losing a good result after the race rather than during it?
RK: I don't think that the exceptional weight loss of my tyres was due to my lack of experience. The team strategy was good and what happened is just a lesson for the future and frankly, I was more disappointed for my driving mistake rather than for the disqualification.
Q: Running side-by-side with Fernando Alonso down the Monza pit lane was one of the highlights of the Italian race. You lost out to him - was this cold calculation? And was the Hungary disqualification in the back of your mind, as you wanted to avoid getting punished for speeding?
RK: No calculation at all. I tried to keep my third position but Fernando had just fit a set of new tyres and I didn't, so he had a better traction when exiting the pit and he also managed to switch off the pit limiter earlier than me.
Q: The Monza result must have been very gratifying - it now gives the team every justification for offering you a regular race seat in 2007
RK: (laughs) You know more than I do!
Q: Earlier this season BMW Motorsport Director,Mario Theissen, said that you have outperformed his expectations. Now youve gone a step further with your first podium. You must be on cloud nine...
RK: I am happy of course, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground. Rather than an achieved goal, I consider this podium as a starting point with still a lot of work to do.