Q and A with Robert Kubica
Renault driver Robert Kubica thoroughly enjoys racing on street circuits and the Polish racer has always gone well around the tight and twisty streets of Monaco. Looking at his form already this season, the Renault racer should bode well here this weekend and to ensure this happens he knows the need to qualify well on Saturday....
Robert, you scored points last weekend in Spain, but you ended the race a bit disappointed…
It was a bit frustrating because I had a difficult first lap and lost three places, which affected the rest of my race. I also made contact with Kobayashi, which damaged my car and gave me a lot of understeer. Even with the damage, I was surprised that my pace was not too bad and I was able to follow Sutil closely after my pit stop. But it’s so difficult to overtake in Barcelona and there was no chance to get by him. Although it was encouraging to see our pace during the weekend, especially compared to Mercedes, I felt that we should have come away with more points.
Just look back at last weekend and look ahead to this weekend. What do you think of this circuit? What are your chances?
Barcelona on our side was a good weekend for us performance wise. We were a bit surprised about our performance in qualifying. We did not bring a big upgrade to Barcelona, so we were expecting to maybe lose some ground. Actually we did lose some ground to Red Bull but to the others cars like Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes we were quite close, so good performance. But, unfortunately, not so good first lap and then all race with a damaged front wing, so it was not easy but I managed to finish eighth. We know Barcelona is very difficult for overtaking, so it has been quite a tough race, but anyway quite a good weekend. For here, Monaco is quite a different grand prix to what we have raced this year, so it will be interesting to see how our car will be performing here. Unfortunately, from our side, we don’t have a specific downforce level for here. Normally from the past I was used to having some different wings with more downforce. Drag and efficiency is not so important here in Monaco, but we will be using practically the same wings as all year, so we will have to see if our downforce level is good for here.
Looking ahead to Monaco, is it a race you enjoy and what are your expectations for the weekend?
I always enjoy street circuits, especially Monaco, and I’ve always gone well there. There are aspects of Monaco that are both positive and negative for our car, so it’s difficult to know how competitive we will be until free practice begins on Thursday. Also, as we saw in Barcelona, qualifying is going to be the most important part of the weekend because overtaking is even more difficult in Monaco. If you want to score good points you need to qualify towards the front and avoid any mistakes.
What is the secret to a good set-up in Monaco?
It’s all about having a car that is reactive and easy to drive. To find those final few tenths you need a car that gives you the confidence to really push to the limit and almost kiss the barrier with your tires. I expect it will be even more challenging to drive Monaco this year with a full tank of fuel because the car will become less reactive. The tunnel used to be taken flat, but with heavy fuel I expect it will be much more of a challenge.
You are in a new team. How is the relationship going? Do you feel you are building the team around you?
So far so good. When you are joining a new team or when you are working you try to create a good atmosphere with the engineers, the mechanics in the workshop and on the race track, so I think it is normal you are trying to do the best atmosphere you can to work well. Especially when you have problems then it helps when you have a good relationship and respect with each other. This is what we are doing, so from this point of view there is nothing we can improve. All is going quite well.
The car here is a little less important than on other tracks and you like to drive on street circuits. What do you predict for yourself this weekend?
The car is still very important. I finished second in 2008 and I was starting second last in 2009, so it shows that the car is still important, and that’s why it’s very, very difficult to predict. There are two options: either our car will be very good or our car will not be so good. Of course we are trying hard to improve the car and we hope that Monaco will be a good track for us.