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Exclusive Kubica Q&A: I'm still ambitious but I must be patient 11 Jul 2009

Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 (L to R): Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Timo Glock (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009

Qualifying for BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica couldn’t have been more disappointing. His team mate made it to Q2, while he got stuck in Q1 after struggling with his F1.09. But for Kubica there is always something to learn, even from a negative situation. That is Polish driver’s philosophy right now. Plunging from the top to the bottom of the grid is far from ideal, but he’s confident the tide will turn eventually…

Q: Robert, you are a very ambitious driver so having only two points by the middle of the season must leave you fuming…
Robert Kubica:
Not really. A driver’s ambitions don’t really influence the season. I am still ambitious. I am still ambitious to improve, to get better, but unfortunately we are struggling to make a big step forward. Some races we get better because maybe we bring more upgrades, while the others introduce their upgrade at the next. That always creates something of a flexible situation. At the moment we are struggling to get in front of the big group that contains people who are really competitive. This group is very close together and that creates a very packed situation. Lately even Force India have made good progress so this is not easy at all. We know that we have to work hard to further improve.

Q: But knowing your abilities, the situation must be very difficult for you…
RK:
I don’t think that it is as difficult as it maybe looks from the outside. We are not in a position to fight for wins - for the top five even - but I still think this season can be a good year in terms of experience. In the end you have to learn from of this situation: me as a driver, and the team as a team. I can learn quite a lot. And the reality is that it is not just us who are in trouble. At the last race I was fighting with Fernando (Alonso) and Lewis (Hamilton) for P14! That is how it is.

Q: Why do you believe the car’s development is going wrong? This time last season BMW Sauber were among the top three, whilst now they’re in the bottom three....
RK:
It is a difficult question as this is very complex. It is not so easy to explain. It is not just the development. We thought that we had got it right at the beginning of the season and I just think that we overestimated how good we are. The fact is that we are not as good as we thought! Then the decision to not bring any improvements for the first four races made us fall down the grid quite substantially. And to come back, once you are very much behind in terms of pace, is very difficult, as it means that you have to make bigger and bigger steps. If someone makes one step you at minimum have to make two to catch up with them. If he is doing one and you are also doing only one, you stay in the same place. Red Bull did an amazing job bringing a completely new car, at least on the outside, to Silverstone. They’ve already been in front and they keep on improving even more. That is why we are struggling to come closer to where we want to be.

Q: What are the consequences of this for you and the team?
RK:
I don’t know. This is difficult to say. As I said before I have learned quite a lot. It might look negative from the outside, because before I’d never started from P18. But even in this situation there is always something to learn and in the end I guess it is somewhat good to also get this experience, because the racing is quite different so far behind. But for sure I don’t want to have that experience for much longer. Sometimes a negative experience can turn into a positive experience in the future. I think that also goes for the team. If we manage to understand the situation, to really understand where we’ve gone wrong, this could be good for all of us. If this happens, we will see.

Q: But hope is not entirely lost. A new floor was announced for this weekend. You tried it yesterday. What is your verdict? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? You were complaining of balance issues on Friday…
RK:
We did bring a modified floor and other bits on the car, but I don’t think it was a major improvement or a big step. It did bring what we expected but it was not really a major step like we had in Barcelona. But again everybody was bringing new bits. One of the big problems of the car this year is its general balance - it is very difficult to drive and very difficult to get it set-up properly. The car is changing from corner to corner. For example, two corners in a row I have a lot of understeer, but over the next two corners I might face oversteer due to the different radius of the corners, different approach and different braking. So it is almost impossible to get everything right for a fast lap with this year’s car.

Q: At the last race at the Nurburgring two years ago you started from P5 and ended seventh. Two points could be manageable again on Sunday?
RK:
Oh, sure that would be good, but I don’t think that it is a realistic scenario.

Q: Ferrari are reportedly already starting to put most of their efforts into their 2010 car. Is this also a policy at BMW Sauber?
RK:
This is a question for Mario (Theissen) and Willi (Rampf). I don’t know how we will approach that issue. I would welcome new things on the car. Because we have no testing, even if we introduce major things they might have an influence on next year’s car and they would be good to test during practice on Friday. I don’t know right now how we will handle that. Last year it was so different as we were at the top and in such a situation you handle things differently. Frankly, I don’t know what our approach will be for the remaining races.

Q: At the moment it looks to be a fight between Brawn and Red Bull for the championship. Do you see anybody else on the horizon?
RK:
For now, no. Some cars might do well at certain tracks, like Ferrari was very strong in Monaco. McLaren was sometimes good as well, as were Williams and Toyota at the beginning of the season. Maybe someone will bring major improvements to their car, but for now I only see these two.

Q: It is typical Nurburgring weather. Who is your favorite to win and why? And what about you?
RK:
I think Red Bull is in front of Brawn right now, but I also think that Button can do a very good job here. What about me? Difficult to predict from the position I’m starting from. Before qualifying I was thinking that P11 would be like pole position. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. But be sure that I will do my best, and with a weather forecast that predicts rain, anything can happen. We’ve seen that at the last race here two years ago.