Robert Kubica Q&A: I want to win with Renault this year 26 Jan 2011
It could be argued that Robert Kubica saved Renault last season. Without his talent and competitiveness the teams results would have looked pretty bleak and P5 in the constructors championship may have been just a pipe dream. This year - with a more stable financial and management structure in place - team principal Eric Boullier has the lofty goal of finishing third in the standings. And heading into his sixth F1 season, Kubica is equally ambitious, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com
Q: Robert, you are heading into your sixth Formula One season. Over the last five years youve gone from impressive rookie to championship contender, to unfortunate midfielder and last season you were back at the front
Robert Kubica: Each of the five seasons was very different from the others. There were a lot of changes in terms of car specifications, regulations, tyres and ambitions for results. In my first season I was a test driver, then a Friday driver and finally a racing driver. I was pleased with it because I gained a lot of experience and I also achieved a podium in Monza, which remains one of my best moments. The 2007 season was not so satisfactory. I suffered many technical problems and a very heavy shunt in Montreal. The 2008 season started very well with a high point in Canada, where I won my first race and became a championship leader. Unfortunately the team took a different view on the goal for that season and they decided to stop the development of the car and concentrate on efforts for the following year. It was a real pity because the team and I lost a unique opportunity and I am sure that I am not the only one who regrets that decision. In fact 2009 was a nightmare as the car was created around a KERS system that was not working properly. When it was removed it left me with major weight distribution problems. In the middle of the season BMW decided to pull out from F1, but we had a good second part of the season that culminated in a podium in Brazil. 2010 brought me into the Renault team, where I found the fresh air that I was starting to need. It was a good recovery season as the team followed my suggestions and indications, and I enjoyed the driveability of the car. Three podiums and some strong races made the 2010 season one to remember.
Q: What have been the most formative experiences?
RK: In the first season you learn a lot, but mainly because you are discovering almost everything. Then you start to fine-tune not only the car set-up, but also the race strategies and the championship strategies, as happened in 2008 when I was challenging for the title for most of the season. Anyway, you never stop learning, especially when the regulations are changing.
Q: Are you disappointed you havent won the title yet?
RK: I am not disappointed since I am very aware that for winning a title you need several favourable circumstances. It is a bit like a gearbox - if just one of the gears is not working properly then the whole mechanism collapses or at least loses competitiveness.
Q: The 2010 season is considered to have been one of the most exciting in Formula One history, with five drivers in contention in the closing rounds. Most of the year you were a bystander in this fight, but how was the season for you?
RK: Well, I didnt drive for Renault in 2009 and all the changes happened during the winter, before I really started to work with my new team. There was an important reshuffle of shareholders, but the core of the team remained almost unchanged. This is what I have been told is happening again now.
Q: You have a passion for rallying. Could that sport be your destiny, like it was for Kimi Raikkonen?
RK: Now I can enjoy rallying because I can drive without focusing on the result, but just for pure fun. It would probably be different if I became a professional rally driver, but I wont write off the possibility that I could make the switch in the future. In rallying you can be competitive regardless of your age and that gives me plenty of time before I start to consider it seriously.
Q: At the moment we can see a change in Formula One drivers, with those with substantial sponsorship funding or private wealth getting drives. Sheer talent doesnt seem enough for at least some teams any longer. Would you rethink being in F1 under such conditions?
RK: I am not in the position to judge the decisions of the teams that are finding compromises on their driver line-ups. In the history of Formula One this is not new. I think that the current level of the drivers is very high and the show is not affected at all. Had I have faced such a situation, I probably would have turn towards other directions, but I am certainly not blaming those who are fighting to get or maintain themselves in a seat with all possible tools.
Q: Your new car will have the black and gold livery of the Lotus heyday. What do you make of it?
RK: Im touching wood! I am confident that 2011 will be a good season because during this winter the team were able to work with a more stable financial and management situation, compared to one year ago. Eric Boullier said that he wants our car to win races this year - he expressed exactly what I feel!
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