Exclusive interview with BMW Saubers Robert Kubica 24 Aug 2007
Eighteen months have passed since Robert Kubica made his Formula One debut as BMW Saubers third driver. Since then Kubicas time in the cockpit has been full of surprises.
Not only was he swiftly promoted to a race drive after the departure of former champion Jacques Villeneuve, but he has also celebrated a podium finish and walked away from the most spectacular crash Formula One racing has seen in years. Its no wonder then that BMW Sauber have signed him for another year
Q: How do you feel you have progressed over the last 18 months?
Robert Kubica: I have always tried to do my best and I guess I have improved - in this sport you always have to take it a step further. Obviously, I have done enough to stay with the team for 2008.
Q: What do you think you have learnt about driving and about life in general?
RK: About driving - I am improving and I can say that Ive got a wider view on the things that happen in the car and I am more open about how to work with the tyres and with the set-up. Away from driving - there have been quite a few lessons!
Q: Does it matter to you who your team mate is? Does it make a difference?
RK: Honestly, it can make a difference. I have a good relationship with Nick (Heidfeld) and I am happy that he is staying because it gives a kind of security and consistency. Personally, I can say that in the past I have had good relationships with all my team mates.
Q: What do you think about the Lewis Hamilton-Fernando Alonso relationship at McLaren? Is it a healthy situation for a team?
RK: I think it is very healthy. Because when you have two top drivers competing against each other, it pushes the performance of the team forward, especially when you are fighting for the championship. Of course, I can only see it from the outside - and from there it looks healthy.
Q: Have you ever been in a similar situation?
RK: No, not really - but then again your team mate is always the first guy you want to beat. This is Formula One, a sport at the very top of the competition scale.
Q: You have known Hamilton for years
RK: I know Lewis pretty well since karting and other single-seater series, but lately we have not talked a lot because this is a very intense environment where time is a scarce commodity.
Q: Did you have any reason to doubt that BMW Sauber would prolong your contract?
RK: There are always doubts because you never know what might happen in real life. But I was pretty confident that they would keep me, and pretty sure that there wouldnt be a bad surprise for me. There is still a mountain of work ahead of us to achieve what we are here for - to get on top of everybody.
Q: The team made the announcement this week, but when did you actually sign the contract?
RK: We signed something between Canada and Indy. I am not joking. Ask Mario (Theissen).
Q: How long have you signed for?
RK: It is team policy to decide from year to year if this answers the question.
Q: The F1.07 looks to be improving at every race. Are you satisfied with the performance of the car?
RK: The good thing with the F1.07 is that its performing quite well everywhere - from the slow track of Monaco to the high-speed tracks of Indy and Montreal - so we are much more consistent than last year.
Q: The teams third place in the constructors championship looks secure, but what about you - where would you like to end up?
RK: Ah, we dont know where we will finish. True we have a good chance we could finish where we are, but there are still six races to go. And for myself? I dont think that there will be big changes in the drivers championship, so I am not looking at that so much but focusing more on getting the best out of each race still to come.