Getting to know Robert Kubica
By Blanca de Foronda
It's 8.55 in the morning and I receive a phone call from Poland. "Sorry, I know I promised I would call yesterday but it was too late when I got home". It's Robert Kubica, the first ever winner of a World Series by Renault title. He has become one of the most important popular sporting personalities in Poland, a country which has never shown a great interest in motorsport until now. Robert Kubica and the performance of his World Series Formula Renault 3.5 has made a whole country sit up and pay attention and now they want more.
What does this championship mean for your racing career?
A great deal. After some good results in European Go-Kart races, I moved to single-seater racing but I was never really in a position to dispute a title. I was quick on occasions but in my last two seasons in the F3 Euroseries, I was really unhappy because I was unable to demonstrate my true potential. This year, and in such a professional category I was able to show that I could win and be consistent. And everyone in the team has been part of that effort.
How did you come to be involved with Epsilon Euskadi?
I only met them back in December when they invited me to take part in testing. Epsilon Euskadi is a really professional team. It's been styled like an F1 team, thanks to Joan Villadelprat. He's always there making sure that everything is under control. I have felt very good working with the team. I came into the season with some prior racing experience and only 5 days of testing. They really placed a lot of confidence in me, giving me the freedom to make changes to the set-up. After that, obviously the results helped a lot.
With 4 wins, 11 podiums and 3 pole positions to date, what has been your best moment in the World Series by Renault so far this season?
My victory in Bilbao, because I was in the Basque Country and I was so happy for the Team and their sponsors. And then, the double-win in Oschersleben. I knew the two races in Germany were going to be a difficult challenge for me and I was extremely happy to win them both.
When did to start to realize that you had a chance of winning the 2005 World Series By Renault title?
I think right after Oschersleben I started to realize that I was in with a good chance of winning.
Both you and Felix Porteiro achieved very good results at the highest level in go-karting. What has your relationship been like this year?
Well, first and foremost, Felix is simply a very nice guy. But he came here to win the Championship and for him it has been very difficult to deal with his lack of consistency in terms of results. Of course, sometimes he was very quick. I have worked with two very good team-mates in my career. For me, Bruno Spengler was very special. We are still very good friends.
I hear that you have become really popular back in Poland.
In Poland, motorsport has never really had much of a popular following. Motor racing is not very well developed there. I think that the World Series by Renault and my success in the Championship had helped a lot to make the sport more popular back home. Daniel Morelli (my manager) and the people that work with me in Poland are doing their best to educate people about motor racing. Now you can watch the World Series by Renault races on TV and the newspapers are talking about something else than just football. There is also a growing interest in single-seater racing.
And last week your office organized a Press Conference in the capital, Warsaw, and there were more than 80 journalists in attendance!!!
Yes!!! We organized something similar three years ago and only 15 journalists attended. My results and winning a championship like the World Series by Renault has helped a lot. To some extent, it has been a question of us raising media awareness. In Formula One, they only know about Schumacher and maybe now Alonso. They asked some strange questions, but overall I was very happy with the situation.
Where do you see your future?
The dream of every single professional driver is to go into Formula One. As the title winner, I will get a test in the R25 with the Renault F1 Team and we will see where things go from there. I'm totally confident that Daniel Morelli will do a good job. I cannot talk about things much at the moment but you know how it is: Formula One is very difficult discipline to get into and sometimes getting a drive is a just a question of luck.
You started your racing career very young: at the age of 10. And then you moved to Italy. Was that not hard on you at such an early age?
I started training in Karting when I was seven but in Poland you can only get a licence when you are 10. After three years of competition, my father and I decided that I would move to Italy. At that stage, I was living with the family of the owner of the karting team. Like many other drivers. After 4 races I got a contract as a professional driver with CRG. I was still trying to continue my studies but I have to admit I was not top of the class at school. Racing is my life and I was doing what I liked best. Of course, I lost touch with my friends in Krakow. But over the last two years I have returned to my hometown and my friends are still there!
Before Monza you have some free time for yourself. What is a normal day in the life of Robert Kubica like?
Well, I have to do a lot of training, especially working on my neck because it is a very big step to move up from a F3 car to a Formula Renault 3.5 litre. I have a girlfriend and I have a life pretty much like any other guy in his twenties: playing on the computer, bowling and skiing, for instance. Having said that, I am a very quiet person and I like to stay at home with my family because I don't get to spend so much time with them during the season.
You have a lot fans in Poland but there are a lot of people out there that don't know about your home town. What is Krakow like?
There are a lot of students there because the city has a very important university. And especially now that the new academic year is underway. In the summertime, there are a lot of tourists and you cannot find a free seat if you go the main square! I think there is a good compromise between historic buildings and modern buildings. But there is nothing as good as Italian food, is there?