Firsts and frustration - Kubica & Heidfeld on BMW's 2008 season 06 Nov 2008
After clinching his first pole position and race victory, 2008 will forever remain a vintage year for Robert Kubica. For team mate Nick Heidfeld, the season was unquestionably a far tougher challenge. Even so, Heidfeld has enjoyed highlights, including some really memorable overtaking moves. Here both he and Kubica evaluate their '08 campaigns and look ahead to 2009
Q: Robert, how would you assess your second full season in Formula One racing?
Robert Kubica: The 2008 season was very long and extremely hard - probably the toughest of my career. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to sustain our pace of development through the second half of the season. But we have made a big leap forward over 2007. We had no technical retirements and were in there fighting for the title almost until the end of the season. The team have done a wonderful job and we can be proud of our season, I don't like to give myself too much praise, but I think I drove really well. I was almost always fast and able to show my potential. However, I'm a person who always wants to win and for me second place is the first loser.
Q: What were the highs and lows of 2008?
RK: I can think of various great moments, especially over the first half of the season - my podium in Malaysia, pole position in Bahrain and, of course, my first race victory in Canada. I'm also very proud of my performance at Fuji. That was probably my strongest race of the year. The most frustrating weekend, on the other hand, was the first of the season in Melbourne: I'd had a very disappointing season in 2007 and my race was going really well until Kazuki Nakajima ran into me.
Q: Nick, how would you sum up the 2008 season?
Nick Heidfeld: So-so, with an upwards curve towards the end of the season. It is always my aim to get the maximum from the car and I didn't manage to do that through the middle part of the season - in qualifying in particular. The positive thing is that I came through this difficult period by analysing the situation, rather than stubbornly ploughing on. Highlights included the race at Spa - when my decision to change onto wet-weather tyres two laps from the finish paid off - and five passing manoeuvres over the course of the season in which I overtook two cars in the same move. And, of course, four second places aren't bad going either.
Q: How do you expect the reintroduction of slick tyres will affect the racing in 2009? Will they help you to exploit the full potential of the tyres in qualifying?
NH: We'll find out in due course if slicks suit my driving style specifically, but I believe they will do and I definitely think it's important that we get them back in Formula One! Slicks are simply part of F1, both for the sport as a spectacle and as far as driveability is concerned. Anything else is just a joke. In combination with the significant reduction in the cars' downforce levels, slicks will hopefully also result in more overtaking.