Exclusive Robert Kubica Q&A: Options open on 2010 race seat 03 Oct 2009
With the 2010 driver market kicked into gear by this weeks announcement of Fernando Alonsos move to Ferrari, Suzuka is awash with speculation. Dominating those rumours is BMW Saubers Robert Kubica. Will he stay at the German-Swiss team with its new owners? Will he replace Alonso at Renault? Or has Kubica been sweet talked into a Toyota drive? It seems the decision hasnt yet been made
Q: Robert, the driver market seems to be a little overcrowded at the moment. When will you know - and make public - where your cockpit for 2010 will be?
Robert Kubica: I think I will make it public as soon as we make the deal. But then again it will depend on the teams strategy which I have chosen, and then we will make it public sooner or later. But for now there is nothing confirmed so all the gossip around is pure speculation.
Q: Many argue that for Renault you are a must have to replace the departing Alonso. Do you feel the same about them?
RK: I think you are referring to the Renault and Toyota approaches that were made public at Fridays press conference. Yes, we have been speaking to those teams, but also with others. But you should understand why Im tightlipped about the teams we are talking to. Namedropping would not be appropriate in this case. But one thing I can say is that there have been more options than Renault and Toyota. It is true that those two are pushing the most, but it doesnt necessarily say that I will end up there. To be honest it is quite a difficult situation to choose a team for the future. It is a difficult time for Formula One, it is a difficult time for car manufacturers and a difficult time for sponsors, because after this years experience I dont ever want to be caught again in a situation where you have a contract with a team, and then to discover in the middle of the year that the team will no longer exist because the car manufacturer is withdrawing from racing. So one of my priorities is that this does not happen again, by trying to collect as much information as I can in order to make the best decision.
Q: You and Kimi Raikkonen has been mooted as an ideal 2010 line-up for Toyota. Would that appeal to you?
RK: I would not have a problem with that, but in reality I dont choose a team by looking at who the other driver is . But yes, with Kimi I could imagine that we would do a good job. I know Kimi a bit and I respect him a lot as a driver and as a person. Although we both are quite different personalities outside the track, in a working way we could do a really good job.
Q: Who would you lean more towards?
RK: It is not 100 percent sure that it will be one of those two teams. Nothing is decided yet. Its true that they are both big car manufacturers and it could be a good chance for me, but thats not to say that I will be there.
Q: Are there discussions going on with the team who will take over BMW Sauber? Would you also consider staying as an option?
RK: Yes, this is one of the options as well.
Q: Nine points scored after 14 races. How do you feel when you see your tally is still in single figures?
RK: Well, you always hope that you dont end up like this. But there is always a chance and this year it happened to me - or to us I should say, as we are not performing as a team the way we would like. It was a disappointment performance-wise, but I also have to say that I havent been the luckiest guy when the car was working. Spa could have been a good place for us, but there I had some power problems. Here the car is working very well, yet I had a disastrous qualifying due to red and yellow flags. The fact is that I could have more points on my account. But still that amount would not make me happy - it still would not be enough to be satisfied.
Q: BMW Sauber brought some major upgrades to Singapore that resulted in both cars making it through to Q3. How are they behaving here? Are you satisfied with qualifying?
RK: Today I would say that we had a better chance than in Singapore. When you look at the time I had before the yellow flag I was clearly in Q3, maybe with P5 or P6, especially as two quick cars went off in Q3. That would have been a major chance for me to put the car on the second or third row. It did not happen. That was disappointing, because at the end of the season you always try to do your best and the car felt really good. But then in my case circumstances messed it up. This weekend is obviously not made for me with all the traffic, the flags and all that.
Q: Three races remain. Can you move up in the standings?
RK: Everything is possible. The grid is very close together. I think in Practice Three there where 15 cars within half a second. Here in Suzuka, its a very selective track. That shows that you have to squeeze everything out of your package.
Q: Are you sad that BMW Sauber is ending this way, especially after fighting for the championship last season?
RK: Last year we had a goal to win races but didnt have a goal to win the championship. I think we could have managed that better at the time. And yes, this year is quite sad, because they are all great guys who are working with me. We spent four years together, which is a pretty long time by Formula One standards. I hope they are on the grid next year - maybe with me.
Q: But first things first, you are looking to save your own future
RK: I think that the future of this team is brighter than it was two months ago. But it is still not on the grid. It is the 14th team at the moment.