Q&A with Renault's Robert Kubica: We are ready 11 Mar 2010
Back in 2006, Robert Kubica was BMW Saubers promising rookie. Fast forward four seasons and Kubica is at a different team. But whilst Renault may still be struggling to regain the footing that brought them - and then driver Fernando Alonso - two consecutive titles, the Pole is hopeful everyones hard work will gradually pay off
Q: Many people have already written off Renault as frontrunners. What shape do you think the team are in?
Robert Kubica: At the moment it is quite difficult to judge where we are, and where we will be. To be honest, I have no clear idea where we stand at this moment. Of course we have seen some things at the tests. I think we were very good in Jerez, but in Barcelona we didnt do so well, so that makes it very difficult to give a proper judgement. Also you cannot predict which stage of development the other teams are at. In my eyes we definitely need to wait until after a couple of races to see where everybody is. A good start to the season would help though. With the engineers and the winter testing team we have achieved most of the things that we had planned to accomplish in February. So we are ready.
Q: Does it feel a bit odd to start the season in Bahrain? Are you very excited to be close to racing again?
RK: Of course I am, especially after such a long break, and with me being in a new team. So everything is pretty new to me here, and we have only been able to test in February, so there was a lot of work to do in the meantime. 2006 was the first year for me in Formula One, and we started in Bahrain then too, so for me it really does not matter. The only thing that matters is that all the speculating finishes and we can do some proper racing.
Q: Lewis Hamilton once said that you are one of the toughest guys to race against, and you have said similarly complimentary things about him. How do you think Jenson Button and Hamilton will work together?
RK: I dont know, but I think they will be okay. Both of them are really professional drivers, and I think that they will not have any problems. But still I am not in the team, so it is very difficult to judge.
Q: Do you think that the things you were promised have been delivered since you signed to Renault?
RK: We will do our best with what we have. We will start from behind, considering last seasons standings, and I think most of the teams have based this years car on the one from last year, so we have to make sure that we have a good development programme to catch up. As I said, it is very difficult to judge the car from the teams perspective, but I was very happy and surprised when I got here to Renault, and I am really happy to be here. I integrated into the team very quickly, and we started work straight away. But as you know testing is always different and there will be some things we will have get used to.
Q: How does it feel to step into the shoes of a two-time world champion?
RK: I dont know if I am taking the Fernando Alonso part within the team. I am myself, and of course Ill try to do the best possible job. I think that at the moment everybody at Renault knows that the time of fighting for the world championship title are in the past and we have to be realistic. As I said, last year was quite disappointing, so we have to make sure that we deliver a better job than last year.
Q: Is it a disadvantage to have a young driver like Vitaly Petrov as a team mate, in terms of developing the car?
RK: We drivers can only give so much feedback and direction on the cars development. We dont work on any particular parts, or even on the aerodynamics. A lot is happening in the wind tunnel and design offices. Of course he (Petrov) is new in F1, and a lot of things are new to him, and he has to learn these things and it will take some time. But he is doing okay. In February he had some chances to run in the car, even though he was a bit unlucky with the weather.
Q: How have you adapted to your new team? How does Renault differ to BMW Sauber?
RK: The differences I will keep to myself. There are differences in mentality and operational working style. Also the structure of the car is different, and how it is being developed is different. It starts at simple things like the positioning of the switches on the steering wheel, to more technical set-up things. This is also why we concentrated in February to get me used to this new situation, and to get the feeling we are ready for the season.