Kubica: I feel like a David against lots of Goliaths 27 Jun 2008
He is rapidly becoming a superstar in his native Poland, but even since his maiden Grand Prix victory in Canada turned him into a championship contender, BMW Saubers Robert Kubica has done his best to keep a low profile. Nevertheless, despite his teams unsettled weekend at Magny-Cours, Kubica is still being touted as the man who could gatecrash Ferrari and McLarens championship party. Formula1.com caught up with the 23 year-old following this weeks Silverstone test to get his personal take on his title chances
Q: Robert, after the wonderful feeling of a maiden win in Montreal, has your mood sobered after such a challenging Magny-Cours weekend?
Robert Kubica: I approached the Magny-Cours event with my feet on ground and the race result was only slightly below my expectations. After the Friday sessions, I realized that the goal was to limit the damage rather than repeat the Canadian performance, and this is what happened in the end.
Q: Why do you believe the car didnt perform as well as expected? With Lewis Hamiltons ten-place relegation and drive-through penalty, the podium seemed to be almost a sure thing
RK: We are currently far from the pace we need in order to challenge our front-running competitors and its no secret that we need some good updates to get back to the level of competitiveness we showed in the early part of the season. The missed podium in Magny-Cours shows that we cannot rely on the others hitting trouble. Lewiss penalties probably just put one less car in front of me at the finish line.
Q: France was your worst qualifying of the year, with the F1.08 half a second off the pace of the Ferraris
RK: In Magny-Cours our gap to Ferrari was the highest so far and this was emphasised by the fact that some other teams have instead closed the gap to us. Its a signal that we need to take very seriously - and one we must react quickly to.
Q: You always played it cool when asked about your championship ambitions - even when you were leading the standings. Now there are three drivers within five points, with you sandwiched between the two Ferrari men and eight points ahead of Lewis. Do you admit that you are still a hot candidate for the title?
RK: We are almost halfway through the season and I dont think that my second position in the championship is just by chance. Nevertheless, I still consider that I am the outsider and Ill only tell you if I am a hot candidate when were in Brazil. For the time being, I feel more like a David against lots of Goliaths.
Q: Kimi Raikkonen drove a large part of the French Grand Prix with a section of his exhaust flailing from his car. Do you think he should have been black flagged?
RK: No, I dont think there were serious safety concerns for him or the others.
Q: The 2009 regulation changes could bring about a dramatic change in the Formula One pecking order, meaning this year could be your best shot at the title for a while. How do you think things will change next season?
RK: Traditionally - and also statistically - whenever there is a major change in technical regulations, top teams have remained top teams. There may of course be some reshuffling in the first few races, but the top teams strength is also in their capacity to keep developing the good aspects of the car and quickly abandon the bad ones.
Q: What developments have you been testing this week and what changes can we expect to see on the car for the Silverstone race? Will they be enough to close the gap to Ferrari?
RK: Its not only the gap with Ferrari - we can also take it for granted that McLaren will also be there. Moreover, we have seen Toyota and Renault in better shape. So I think that Silverstone, and also Hockenheim, will somehow become the turning point of the season, with everybody challenging everybody else in order to find their real positioning in both the drivers and constructors championships. The test in Silverstone was altogether positive and I think that some good decisions were taken. Obviously, the answer will come next week.
Q: And how is life as a superstar back home in Poland? With every race, there are more and more Polish flags being waved at the tracks
RK: I am going to Poland very rarely, just for PR activities. What I am certainly realizing is that I could not even make two steps there in a street on my own. On the other hand, I am happy to see so many Poles coming to the races and Ill take this opportunity to thank all of them for their huge support!