RACING

Robert Kubica ‘the best F1 driver I’ve ever seen’

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Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack thinks Robert Kubica is the most naturally gifted racing driver he has ever seen.

Krack worked directly alongside the Polish racing driver as chief engineer for the BMW-Sauber team, and was at the helm during Kubica’s 2008 season when he took his first pole position and victory. in Grand Prix.

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Kubica, who has only played his second full season in Formula 1, has become a dark horse for the title as his strong start to the year saw him leave Canada with 42 points from seven races, meaning a lead by four points over eventual champion Lewis Hamilton. , and main rival Felipe Massa.

However, Kubica would go on to score just 33 more points over the remainder of the season and finish a distant fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

BMW stopped boiling in 2009, with the move from Kubica to Renault for 2010 yielding good results. In early 2011, Kubica suffered horrific injuries at an after-school rally event in Italy and will not compete in a Grand Prix again until he lands a racing seat with Williams for 2019.

Kubica’s time with Williams ended after one season, with the Pole becoming a test and reserve driver for Alfa Romeo – a role he has held ever since.

It was a career that promised so much more, and Krack said Kubica at his peak was nothing short of top class.

“The best I’ve ever seen,” Krack enthused of Kubica on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

Krack also working alongside four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at BMW-Sauber and meeting with him at Aston Martin for 2022, he was asked if Kubica had the measure of the German.

“Sheer talent, I think he has a feeling to describe the car, I think he’s really, really, really strong,” Krack replied.

The main reason for Kubica slipping in 2008 was BMW’s decision to focus its development resources and energy on creating the 2009 car. This was due to the introduction of a big regulatory change, with the manufacturer having opted out of chasing the 2008 title – much to Kubica and Krack’s frustration.

This led to the Luxembourger taking the decision to leave the team altogether, having spent eight years working to bring the Sauber team forward.

“Do you remember that I left [in 2009]? There is a connection there,” Krack explained.

“We had worked so hard from 2001 to become a winning team. A winning team might be wrong because we won a race at the end, but we got pole position in Bahrain, I think we were second in Melbourne. So I think, let’s say, a podium team. It’s been such a good climb over the years, making progress.

“I was a little concerned about the new regulations, as 2009 was the introduction of KERS.

“It was still very open, whether to use it or not, how much power you would have with it, and all those sorts of technicalities. I wasn’t sure how we were going to deal with it.

“So we were pushing very, very hard to try to do everything to win the championship and develop the car as much as we could, until the end. But the master plan didn’t include that – keep working on the 2008 car. It was very, very difficult because we thought we could do more than we did in the end.

While BMW opted out of F1 at the end of 2009 after F1.09 proved to be largely a flop, Krack said winning the 2008 title with Kubica could have caused the manufacturer to choose to stay in. sports longer.

“I think so, I think they would have stayed,” he said.

“But, to be honest, I wasn’t part of it anymore in 2009. The reasons why they pulled out – was it just a success or were there other things? I think there was also the financial crisis at the time, so you would have to ask the big players.

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