Yesterday I gained a new appreciation of just how popular Robert Kubica is in his native Poland.
Monday’s poll on “Which F1 drivers do you like?” was picked up by several major Polish sports sites. Robert Kubica, who had been leading comfortably with a few hundred votes, suddenly rocketed to over 10,000.
Poland is a potentially huge market for F1 with a population of over 38 million. Has the time come to tap into the popularity of Kubica with a Polish Grand Prix?
Kubica, Poland’s first and only Polish driver, scored his maiden Grand Prix win at Montreal earlier this year and remains in the championshp hunt despite his BMW not quite being on the pace of the Ferraris and McLarens. For that, I picked him as my driver of the year so far.
There is only one Grand Prix in Eastern Europe at present, the Hungarian round, which has been on the calendar since 1986. Is it time for a second race in Eastern Europe in Kubica’s home country to capitalise on his success?
One obstacle to it would be the lack of racing circuits in the country I’m not aware of any tracks of substantial size in Poland. Kubica moved to Italy while progressing through the junior formulae because of the lack of motor racing infrastructure in Poland.
However plenty of countries with little motor racing history now have Grands Prix – Turkey, Bahrain and Malaysia for example. And none of these have had talented home drivers to cheer on – the closest being Malaysia’s Alex Yoong.
Given F1’s new-found appetite for street racing perhaps a race could be held on public roads in Warsaw? BMW made a visit to the city last month where Kubica gained a rapturous reception (pictured).
Of course, if we’re talking about countries with talented drivers that have never had a home Grand Prix, we can’t ignore Finland, home of Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen, Mika Hakkinen, Keke Rosberg…
Read more about Robert Kubica: Robert Kubica biography