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Exclusive interview with BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica 17 Dec 2007

Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Friday, 5 October 2007 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Friday, 7 December 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Friday, 7 December 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07 Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 13 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton
Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07 
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 20 October 2007

After such a successful 2007 season, BMW Sauber are hoping for even better results in 2008. With the team coming second in the constructors’ championship (albeit after the exclusion of McLaren) and Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica finishing fifth and sixth respectively in the driver standings, the standard to beat is certainly very high.

Kubica, however, is feeling confident that the German-Swiss team has what it takes to impress again. Here the Polish driver reviews how he performed at the recent tests in Barcelona and Jerez, reveals how he is coping without traction control and looks ahead to 2008…

Q: Robert, you tested extensively in Jerez - 324 laps in three days. What were you concentrating on?
Robert Kubica:
We’ve been mainly concentrating on set-up work for the 2008 electronics and also had a focus on the mechanical side. Aside from that I was running with the 2009 Bridgestone slicks, which was great fun, and boy, I really enjoyed it.

Q: Looking at your positions in the timesheets, you did much better in Jerez than at the previous Barcelona test. Was there a significant reason for this or were you just running different programmes?
In Barcelona we had some teething problems that unfortunately affected the overall performance. But, as sometimes the bad leads to the good, I think that the test sessions there were useful for spotting the areas that need improvement.

Q: Tests, where you often run two race distances in a day, tend to reveal the real state of a driver’s fitness. You are tall, slim and obviously in superb condition. What do you do?
I would say that my physical preparation is very good since I never feel tired - even when conditions get extreme. The best training in the end is to drive - and the more you do it, the better you feel. Then what is needed is just ‘maintenance training’ based on running, cycling and a bit of table tennis - for relaxing.

Q: How did you find driving a Formula One car without traction control? Obviously the driver and his driving style now make more of a difference. Do you embrace this change?
All in all I am happy with this situation and I agree that now the drivers need to compensate for the lack of electronic assistance with a more sensitive driving style. I feel that it goes very well with me.

Q: Fernando Alonso is back at Renault, where he will no doubt expect to be their ‘number one’ driver. Failing to secure that position played a big part in his difficulties at McLaren in 2007 - and arguably cost the team the drivers’ championship. Would you say it’s necessary for the top teams to identify a clear ‘number one’ early in the season?
Well, I think this is an issue that should concern only those who are fighting for the title. Having said that it’s very obvious that it’s better for a team to have one winner rather than two losers! When and how this matter should be addressed and handled, I don’t think is subject to a general rule.

Q: How would you like this to be handled at BMW Sauber in 2008?
I hope that we will fighting for the championship in order to have such kind of problems… otherwise the only thing I am expecting is that the team will give fair and equal treatment to both drivers.

Q: The roll-out of BMW Sauber’s 2008 car will be in mid January. Has a decision been made yet on who will get the honour of driving at that occasion?
No, not yet.

Q: How familiar are you already with the new car? The whole Formula One community expects it to be a podium contender…
We will run the new car in January and I am quite optimistic after our Jerez test session. But the final answer will be in Melbourne.

Q: How is Robert Kubica spending the holiday season? And what is on your wish list for Santa Claus this year?
Very simply, with my family. My wish list? It’s good that you reminded me of that - I still have to fill it out!