Exclusive Q&A - BMW Saubers Robert Kubica 29 May 2008
Since the start of the season BMW Saubers Robert Kubica has become the metaphorical fly in the ointment for championship rivals Ferrari and McLaren. In fact it seems that whenever one of their drivers loses focus for a moment, Kubica is always there to run away with the points.
This tactic has so far taken the Pole to a strong fourth place in the standings. But with characteristic modesty, the 23 year-old is still downplaying his position as a possible championship contender
Q: Robert, you were tipped for a podium result in Monaco - and you did it. It seems it was a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy
Robert Kubica: In fact I have noticed that the expectations for my Monaco result were too high. My analysis is that having achieved three podiums in the first three races, our position (in Monaco) was better than in Spain and Turkey, when Ferrari and McLaren easily shared both podiums places. I dont think that my podium in Monaco represents a real reversal of this trend, since I really had to grab this result, as I think anyone could see.
Q: With hindsight it is always easy to ask a what if question. So if you had been one-stopping, could it have changed anything - could victory have been yours?
RK: I dont think so. Sometimes races are strange and that was the case. Lewis (Hamilton) had his very early involuntary pit stop at the right moment and of course no one could have predicted that that would have helped him to win the race.
Q: Was there ever a moment where you thought that you could pull it off?
RK: When you are running second with Massa behind, its better to keep pushing. Moreover, I could have caught Lewis, should he have repeated the slightest mistake.
Q: You have finished second twice this season. Monte Carlo and Sepang are two very different tracks, so the F1.08 seems to work on any kind of circuit. What do you think is stopping the team from winning?
RK: Well, in Sepang I finished second behind a Ferrari, but with almost a 20-second gap. In Monaco, just prior to the last safety car, I had an almost 40-second gap from Lewis. That shows that we still need a few tenths in order to be in the position to win races. I know that the team is working even harder than before and I am confident that before the end of season Ill have my chance.
Q: Lately you have been accumulating trophies - in one week you walked away with the Lorenzo Bandini award and now a cup in Monaco. Does that give you a psychological boost for the rest of the season?
RK: Obviously yes, although I am aware that in motor racing its a never-ending story - you fight for wins and then, when you win, you want to win again. The important thing is to never give up, whether you lose or you win.
Q: The next race will be in Montreal. With what memories will you return to that track?
RK: I am happy to be back at one of my favourite tracks. I have a good feeling for it and I know that last years accident will not affect my performance at all.
Q: At the Paul Ricard test, you didnt do any laps on the Montreal configuration. Could that be a disadvantage?
RK: I think we have sufficient data to compensate for the lack of testing, even though Nick (Heidfeld) also suffered due to the bad weather conditions in Paul Ricard. We will obviously boost our mileage a little during the Friday sessions and get all we need.
Q: It will be a high-speed weekend. Whats your prediction?
RK: I guess that itll be an interesting race. With four drivers so close in the championship table, its clear that all of us will have to give the maximum. I know that I am the only outsider and that, in contrast to the others, my first goal is not to lose contact with them.
Q: The first four drivers in the standings are covered by just six points. You said that you are not a championship contender, how then would you classify yourself?
RK: Its too early to say - with 12 races still to go, we can say that theoretically any driver on the grid is still a title contender. On the other hand, I hope that the lost points in Australia wont in the end affect my final ranking.
Q: You are a hot topic on the driver transfer market - and there have been rumours regarding your management. What is the state of affairs?
RK: These are two different questions. To the first one, I really havent much to say. To the second, I do have. I know that there are individuals in Poland and also in UK that are insinuating they are somehow involved in my management. This is simply not the case. After so many years of cooperation, I am very surprised that there are still people doubting the fact that Daniel (Morelli) is the only one behind me and that there is absolutely no one behind him. Those people chatter about having some influence on my decisions - and subsequently on my future. They also spread rumours that Daniel is just a front man with limited power. Its just ridiculous! This behaviour makes me really upset since I never like opportunistic people, especially when they are acting in questionable faith. And whether they like it or not, thats the situation.