2010 and a new chapter in the career of Robert Kubica. The highly-rated Pole moves to Renault after a disappointing year with the BMW Sauber team. Following the German Manufacturer s decision to exit the sport at the end of 2009, Kubica was duly snapped up by the Renault team who gave him his first F1 test in 2005.
Here Kubica looks ahead to a new season and a new challenge with Renault.
Interview conducted and provided by the Renault Press Office:
Q. Robert, you ve had a long association with Renault throughout your career and now you re racing for Renault in F1. How does it feel?
I m very happy to be here and, as you say, I do have a long history with Renault. In fact my singleseater career started in a Formula Renault in 2001 and then in 2005 I won the World Series by Renault. That gave me the chance to test for the Renault F1 Team and started my journey in Formula One. Although my career took a different direction with BMW, it s great to be back with Renault where I have a lot of good memories. I already know a lot of the people here and over the winter I have seen how motivated everybody is to improve our competitiveness and start winning races again.
Q. You ve followed the progress of the new car, the R30, closely over the winter. What are your first impressions?
Obviously the R30 is bigger than the R29 because the refuelling ban means we need a bigger fuel cell, which has had an impact on the design of the car. Last year Renault s car was not that competitive so I m being realistic because I know that we need to make up a lot of ground if we want to fight at the front. But the team have been concentrating on the 2010 car for a long time and I m convinced that we are moving in the right direction. Even if we start the season in the midfield, I m sure we can catch the other teams during the year.
Q. Renault is only your second Formula One Team so you must be excited by a fresh challengeâ€¦
Absolutely! I m still relatively new to Formula One and I m looking forward to meeting new people and learning how a different team operates. As I ve already said, I feel that I have a special connection with this team and I like the attitude that Renault takes towards racing. The atmosphere here is very friendly and open, and the team knows what it takes to win so I feel very comfortable in this environment.
Q. Will the refuelling ban and introduction of narrower front tyres have a big impact on the racing?
I don t think it will have a major impact on the racing, but it will certainly change the behaviour of the car. For example, we can expect to see a huge difference between qualifying lap times and the lap times at the start of the race. When the car is full of fuel it will probably add 150 kgs of weight and that will have a huge effect on driving style especially for braking points. With the narrower tyres we will have to be careful not to wear them out too quickly and we will need to adapt the set-up and weight distribution to cope with this.
Q. Although you ve yet to drive the R30, what personal objectives do you have in mind for 2010?
It s a difficult question to answer. Based on my experience from the previous years, you never really know what to expect until the season starts because things can change so quickly, especially during the winter. When I was with Sauber in 2008, I remember the car did not meet our expectations at the start of the year, but within a month we had turned things around and I took pole position in Bahrain. So things can change very quickly, which is why it s hard to say what my objectives are. My only hope is that the car is easy to drive because the new rules will favour cars that are not too sensitive -we need a car that behaves consistently in a wide range of conditions.