Robert Kubica, Renault, Hungaroring, 2017

Kubica “can become an even better driver” than before

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Robert Kubica believes he can become a better driver than he was before his 2011 rally crash.

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The FIA’s justification for Halo appears to have won over at least one person:

Looking at this has actually changed my mind on Halo. I forget just how often in recent years I said to myself ‘wow, that was lucky’. I’d forgotten about the times a car floor was that close to a drivers head and focused only on loose wheels and debris. This really is needed.

The looks are even growing on me a bit too.

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74 comments on “Kubica “can become an even better driver” than before”

  1. That BBC Benson article is wonderful and a good read, only to be completely ruined by the laughable and ridiculous talent dartboard he has in there. It clearly shows his own opinion and doesn’t explain itself, but somehow gets presented as consensual facts. Benson remains a hilariously petty and biased reporter.

    1. @hahostolze

      It’s actually worse than you made out. I can’t stand Bensons bias brand of journalism. I’m just glad I’m not a license fee payer.

    2. @hahostolze I really loved his sum up of the hungarian GP, it was a whole new race to read about. Ever since BBC scaled down their f1 team, Benson has run amok with the site’s f1 section.

    3. haha i thought exactly the same thing! i mean what was that! im confused

    4. That BBC Benson article is wonderful and a good read, only to be completely ruined by the laughable and ridiculous talent dartboard he has in there. It clearly shows his own opinion and doesn’t explain itself, but somehow gets presented as consensual facts. Benson remains a hilariously petty and biased reporter.

      What article? The BBC link is a video of an interview with Kubica…

      1. I think the link has been changed. It should go to the article here

      2. Thanks for Asking about that Robert, thanks for providing the link @nickwyatt, that video is really nice actually, I am glad I watched it. Now to have a look at a talent dartboard, whatever that may be!

  2. Derek Edwards
    3rd August 2017, 0:23

    I’m delighted that Kubica was not 100% happy with his work because that to me is the sign of a hungry driver always seeking opportunities to improve, which is nothing less than I would have expected from him. Rarely has a day’s F1 news made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

    1. ’m delighted that Kubica was not 100% happy with his work because that to me is the sign of a hungry driver

      Exactly that Derek, it shows he really is there. Watching that interview, he seems a more complete person, relaxed, but also maybe more confident in his own abilities. If he can do it, I think Renault would be crazy not to give it a go.

      It will cost them money from Palmer to settle and have him step aside. But Kubica seems more and more like a driver who will push the team towards that success they want to achieve. And if it works, he is more likely to grab any chance at a good result he can get. And if it doesn’T work out, I think the PR from it alone is worth more than the 6-8 million they would have to pay Palmer. And then there is the respect from the whole paddock and probably also some goodwill from Liberty for suddenly making Poland watch F1 again!

  3. I get the feeling with all the build up we’re looking at it being inevitable that Kubica makes a come back. They’ve kept it very low key so far because it would be cruel to hype things up only to find that he wouldn’t be able to perform, but it would very much seem that he still has it.

    Renault isn’t a team that needs a pay driver anymore, I very much suspect that Palmer’s race seat is a leftover from the Lotus days and while they’ve not been much of a contender Renault have been happy to leave him in it, especially as he’s allowed some consistency for testing and development. But now with a top class driver like Hulkenberg and a car that’s gradually gaining more performance, they’re throwing a potential 5th in the constructors away having Palmer in the seat.

    They must seriously be considering putting another top driver opposite Hulk and unless Alonso is interested in finishing his career with some occasional podiums, I’d be shocked if Kubica isn’t in that seat next year. I honestly think that would be good enough news to make people forget all about the Halo.

    1. It is going to be interesting to see who gets what seats and who misses out.

    2. Ironically, Palmer’s best chance of keeping his seat for the remainder of the season is if Renault have already signed someone (Kubica or Sainz?) for 2018. Otherwise Renault would be fools not to try someone else after the summer holiday break.

  4. Re: cotd….Still I just can’t wrap my head around this halo thing….nothing but respect for Kubica….keep pushing….never say never

    1. I just can’t wrap my head around this halo thing….

      Isn’t that rather it’s point … ?

  5. Are we experiencing and watching a real life movie or what ? , seriously I feel goosebumps already !

    1. I do think it will be the best story in F1 since 2009 if it happens.

    2. Oh, if Kubica makes the grid this will be made into a movie for sure.

      1. I don’t think so. Maybe when he wins a championship or at least be runner up.

  6. Norris, Leclerc and Kubica. No summer break controversies just a bunch of exciting holiday gossip…

  7. What the hell is wrong with Liberty? A Silicon Valley GP? Are they joking? A GP near San Francisco sounds great but there are tracks nearby like Laguna Seca and Sears Point (Sonoma), for God’s sake. Make either one of those tracks safer and that would create a far better and more enduring event, IMO. A Silicon Valley GP just sounds like something that would last for 5 years at the most.

    1. Be a sight to behold to watch F1 cars come down the corkscrew at Lacuna Seca.

      1. Pity Lacuna Seca is a bit short but watch the Ferrari F1 through the corkscrew and the run to the start finish straight.

        1. Is it just me, or the track looks very narrow, especially for this year’s cars?

          1. Laguna Seca is a great track, but not sure it works for F1… as you say narrow, too short and only realistic overtaking spots would be 1st and last corners…

    2. I think a new track in the area would be good. Laguna Seca and Sonoma are excellent examples that the topography along the Pacific Coast around the bay area make for excellent race tracks.

      The reason I think a new track would be better than upgrading Laguna Seca or Sonoma, is I feel that these two circuits would lose their identity in the upgrade to an F1 standard.

      Also, why not have 3 excellent tracks in the area?

    3. Laguna Seca and Sears Point (Sonoma), for God’s sake. Make either one of those tracks safer

      Based on how impressed people were with the tilke-ised verions of the A1 Ring and the Mexican GP’s race track….no.

    4. According to Joe Saward, the west coast doesn’t seem to be a great priority after all due to the problems created by the time difference to Europe, so as far as he believes, the focus for a possible second US race is firmly on the east coast.

    5. I’d love to see F1 cars driving around Laguna Seca (or, to give it its PROPER name, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ;-) ) but in reality I think it would make for an awful race. I can’t think of a single decent overtaking point where an F1 car could attack another. Turn 1 and up the hill are the only two points potentially with a long enough straight leading into them, but it would be an incredibly brave driver who tried to get alongside on either of those straights. In reality I think it would be a bit of a procession.

      Personally I think if I could upgrade any US track for F1 racing to give a decent race, it’d probably be Sebring International Raceway. Seeing F1 cars fighting into that final turn would be breathtaking, and could make for a thrilling finish. Although I appreciate it’s on the wrong coast..

      1. Sebring would have to be totally repaved, and would lose a bit of it’s character in the process.

        Not that I’m opposed to watching a fleet of F1 cars coming around the last bend, but I think Pirelli and the F1 teams would wet themselves driving down the old concrete.

        1. Not only that, but Sebring is a very isolated place (but not as isolated as Watkins Glen). It’s 1 1/2 hours from Tampa and Orlando, and 3 hours from Miami. Sebring the town is basically a place an hour away from any beaches where old people come to retire. I remember once I went down there for the 12 Hours race and it was a seriously unglamorous place to have a major motor race- the elite of F1 would shudder at the thought of having to go to a place like that. It was just a huge party atmosphere- tents everywhere, roudy hooligans riding around in pick up trucks with seats attached to them drinking beer, people having sex in cars, trash and mud everywhere, etc. But it was probably the best race I’ve ever been to- it’s an experience equivalent to that of Le Mans, if not better. It feels like a real throwback- the cleanliness of corporate culture is an unknown and not understood there, quite honestly.

    6. F1 will most likely never race at Laguna Seca, unfortunately, because safety at the circuit is not up to FIA standards. The run-off at the Corkscrew is insufficient (I think it also has a blind entry), and the track’s topography and facilities would have to be substantially revised for it to be granted Grade 1 status.

      1. That is the problem with F1. Allow Monaco where none of the track safety or facilities stack up but discourage any other track. Hypocrisy much?

        Maybe current F1 drivers are not a good as past ones. Have a look at Zanardi with a race and championship winning pass into the blind entry at the corkscrew on the last lap. Indy drivers have more balls? Even V8 Supercar drivers can manage The Dippers blind entry at Bathurst. And F1 drivers need protecting from blind corner entries? Bit hash perhaps, but F1 duplicity again when Monaco has more than enough blind corners (especially the last one).

        1. Gerrit, wasn’t that a pass which is still being debated to this day given that, in order to complete the pass, Zanardi cut across the apex of the following right hander and therefore passed his opponent off track? If a driver did that these days, he’d be heavily criticised for cutting the track – so why would Zanardi’s move be heroic then but dismissed as cheating today?

    7. Yes, Laguna Seca is too short, it would have to be extended for sure. It faces a similar problem to Brands Hatch; its too short and quick (F1 can’t have both anymore) for F1 cars.

  8. Kubica has to overcome some obstecals. First his obvious injuries. Then his height and age. Just being a realist.

    If he can overcome all that and be competitive in the car then I wish him the best.

    1. He overcame them yesterday and proved none are obstacles! He was doing stints quicker than hulkenburg and palmer did in the hungary race, and very consistent especially one 15 lap stint in the 1.21s other drivers did quali simulations but watch this space because kubica did exactly what was needed.

    2. His height has never really been a problem for him so i don’t expect it to be now and as for his age, he’s the same age as Lewis Hamilton and none of us are worried about him being too old to drive a F1 car

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      3rd August 2017, 12:28

      So in addition to dealing with his injuries, he needs to shrink a little bit and get slightly younger?

  9. Ive noticed the vast majority of pictures of Kubica have his injured arm out of shot. Not because I want to stare at it or anything morbid- just wondering if the photographers are doing it on purpose.

    1. I thought the same, then saw the video the official F1 channel uploaded. In his press conference you can see both his arms, there’s a big difference in muscle mass between his arms. I was actually shocked, didn’t think there would be such a big difference.

      He also says that it’s a bigger issue in his daily life than in the cockpit.

      1. Rafael Nadal’s arms look like that too… If he can drive, and get himself out of a halo car, what’s the problem?

  10. I bet noone imagined Di Resta has a shot at 2018 Williams seat? :D But here he is. I think he’s about as good as Massa. So run of the mill average F1 driver. How much better or worse than Wehrlein? His attitude sure is a lot better.

    Then there is Kubica, He was good in every way. Comming in 2017 cars, then does 2 race distances in 1 day.

    If Palmer is indeed paying for his seat, then no need to remove him. Keep him to the end of the year. But then Slot in Kubica or Seinz or someone more promissing.

    Personally I think Kubica could do a decent enough job. He would attract more media and sponsorship than almost anyone else. It would be a major story. How competitive can he be? Well why not find out?

    Ideally they would pay out Palmer to let Kubica race a few races till the end of the season. Then decide on next step.

    Meanwhile STR is now facing Honda engines next year. Seinz must be keen on abandoning that ship?

  11. I completely agree with Sainz comment, he must be looking really hard to get a proper seat for next season. An average engine in an average chassis, not much to be excited about for someone aiming at winning races…

    And if Renault can get their hands on either Sainz or Ocon, i think it will be very difficult for Kubica to come back at Renault. Ideally Renault would be testing Kubica in Palmer’s seat for the remaining of the season, but it is almost time to consider grabing a young talent, so time ia running out for Renault to make a decision for next year lineup. I believe Kubica ia their plan b at the moment.

    1. This season’s STR chassis is quite impressive, with many details similar to the Mercedes.

      1. It was impressive during pre-season. Now as far as i can tell from their results they are behind Redbull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India, McLaren and Renault. I fail to see what is impressive about it… but i agree they have one if not the, most beautiful car of the paddock.

  12. As a junior series lover, I feel for the likes of Aitken and co. I often hear that young drivers cant reach F1 and everybody hypes for an old man. Same with Raikkonen, Massa… etc. There is so much up and coming drivers if you watch geedr series. Sad.


    Vote results:
    Yes, Palmer needs to go ASAP
    Palmer has the drive, Renault should honour it for the season
    Give Palmer a few more races first
    Kubica isn’t ready to drive at the top level again, he’s had his day

    1. Funny how you say that even after the test. If hes had his day renault would not be testing him and wasting their resources. 142 laps is a lot to give a driver you consider done. People in the know consider this just the start.

      1. @kpcart Remember that you are talking about a worksteam with Palmer in their car…
        Also read Jureos post again.

  14. This is the sort of change that I want to see Liberty bringing in. Imagine this camera at Monaco!

    1. @offdutyrockstar FOM were running that camera angle in F1 not that long ago including around Monaco.

      It’s not used anymore partly because of the new in-car camera systems introduced last season not been compatible with the tiny camera they were using & the newer HD units been considered too big by teams/drivers who don’t want to run them due to the weight, aero affect & additional cabling required.

      Even looking at Indycar not every driver or team will agree to run it & we have had occasions where its been fitted to a drivers helmet in the 1st practice sessions with them requesting we remove it after those sessions. Graham Rahal is the only driver that allows us to install it regularly.

      The problem with the one we have in Indycar is that it becomes useless very quickly as we have no way of keeping the lens clear & it also gets damaged very easily due to debris getting kicked up & smashing the lens. This is why you tend to only see it used in the early stages of a race, After however many laps in most of the races we have unfortunately found that it becomes unusable.
      For instance –

    2. Imagine this camera at Monaco!

      @offdutyrockstar FOM were actually using that sort of Helmet-Cam a couple years ago. Here it is on Bottas’ Helmet at Monaco in 2013.

      1. @stefmeister similar! But the Indy one seems much higher in resolution and the fisheye is more pronounced letting you take in a wider view. Either way, i’d love to see this introduced but the halo might get in the way…

        1. @offdutyrockstar
          I doubt resolution and compression have anything to do with the camera. The Halo shouldnt be in the way if it isnt for the drivers….

          Anyways what i really want is a camera that lets you see what the drivers do and not just an helmet mounted one.

          1. @rethla resolution has everything to do with the camera and the viewpoint from atop the drivers head will be roughly 3-4 inches higher than their line of sight so it will be drastically different, especially as you can see in photos the top of the halo is roughly just above the driver’s helmet at its highest point.

          2. @rethla

            The Halo shouldnt be in the way if it isnt for the drivers….

            The Halo would be in the way as the camera is stuck to the top of the helmet & the largest part of the Halo (Where the central pillar meets the main top bar) would be directly in its line of vision.

            @offdutyrockstar The camera that FOM were using looked lower quality as it was an older SD 4:3 unit that was been upscaled/cropped/Zoomed for the 16:9 HD broadcast which reduces quality. The lens angle was actually very similar to what Indycar uses but with the one we have in Indycar been Native 16:9/HD you obviously have more peripheral vision on each side.

            For as cool as the shot we get is the problem we have with it is that we have no way of keeping the lens clean so when it gets dirty it can become unusable & we have had times where that issue has occurred within the 1st few laps.
            Additionally we have had units totally damaged after been struck by a large bit of tyre marble, a stone or piece of gravel which has also rendered them unusable.

            We are also suffering the issue that not every team/driver wants to run with it & we have had occasions were we have fitted one to a drivers helmet during practice only for them or the team to request we remove it afterwards. Graham Rahal’s been really cool about using it but nobody else has which is why we only use the 1 on Graham regularly despite actually having 2 of the units ready for use.

            Going back to F1. The reason you don’t see them use that sort of shot now is that for the start of last season they made the upgrade to full HD in-car camera units & systems & the camera they were using to get that shot isn’t compatible with the new systems. The new Full HD units they have are also considered too large to fit onto a helmet so teams/drivers won’t agree to run one due to the extra weight & impact on the aero into the airbox & cooling vents F1 teams run below/around it.

          3. @gt-racer fantastic insight, thank you!

  15. I don’t understand this di Resta and Kubica thing. Is the talent pool really that thin?

    1. Kubica? Go die

    2. Williams needs someone next to Stroll who is over 25, in request of Martini, so they can’t use a young gun next to Stroll. If Kubica is still very quick (level of Hulk or better) and good at giving feedback for the car, they are better off with him. These years for Renault are about development.

    3. Oh, come on @mayrton, surely Williams is not going to say “yeah, thanks for Paul stepping in but he can forget about chances for next year” to the press, even if that is close to the reality as they can get. Why should they be rude it when asked about his drive?
      Instead they just say that nothing can be ruled out (I would hope Massa to be fit again after the summer break, but if not they might need Paul again!), but I don’t think there is much chance of the team choosing him for next year either, but then again, you never know.

      As for Kubica, that is quite a different story. He was not left by the wayside for more promising drivers. He had his accident before a season that might have seen him winning races with Renault/Genii. Most people in the Paddock are still enthusiastic about his skill. And despite his physical issues still being there to an extent, he got into the car in a session just to get some unfinished business out of the way, but impressed himself and the engineers enough to get them testing.

      The talent is still there, the hunger has matured and now that he has seen he might be able to do it, his determination and drive could be just what a team building itself up to once again become a winner needs to get there.

      1. Fair, but he’s already 33…
        As for Williams, they seem to have no ambition at all given their driver line-up. There is no way to determine the true potential of the car with their driver line-up. Surely there must be better skills amongst ypung drivers

      2. Oh how soon they forget…

        This is a team that twice (or more actually) sacked the driver that had won both championships for them. Before the year was ended!

        Look how the Mansel thing worked out – everyone watched Indy Car the following year. Further, no one ever felt that Prost won that following year and usually credits Senna with the better year and drives. Even if Senna had by then the active advantages Prost had it is always Prost had the better car…

        Williams have a bit of history here frankly and their arrogance with regards to the treatment of champions like Piquet (he deserved it though) Mansell and Hill all to appease Prost and/or whoever they thought was the next best thing created a situation whereby they spent years and years in the mid field and even at the back. It cost them considerable and even if they are seen as ‘racers’ I very much doubt, given the oversight on the organisation as at the moment as they are listed, they would do anything other than run the minimum required to make the most money.

        1. Drg, in the case of Mansell, I recall that Jo Ramirez (formerly of McLaren) said that, when he drove for McLaren, Mansell was one of the most difficult drivers and demanding drivers that ever raced for them – I believe they were very relieved when he finally left the team, suggesting that there may have been fault on his part as well.

        2. Another + 1. I thought Williams’ treatment of Mansell and in particular Hill at the time was appalling. He had done everything they asked of him and then they replaced him with Frentzen of all people! I was disgusted and still am.

          Maybe karma has played a part in their recent and current situation?

    4. I think Andre Lotterer would do a better job. He’s available…

  16. I hate to be negative but I do wonder if Kubica’s injuries will still leave him an accident waiting to happen were he to get a full time race drive. I fully appreciate that he has done tremendously well to overcome them but testing is not racing and I just fear he would be more prone to an accident than most drivers. He has had quite a lot of accidents in his career and I don’t want to see him do any more damage, to himself or anyone else.

    Maybe Renault should only sign him as their test driver and look for someone else to replace Palmer?

    1. Agreed – I really do think it’s PR at its best and even if it is a full time seat which I would love to see, I see the frothing at the mouth types are more interested in removing a Brit (deserved or not) than the reality of Kubica being able. I have no doubt he can cope with a variety of mods to the wheel in the modern age (he would struggle years back though) and given my own racing career was affected by similar (actually much worse) injuries, I can actually see Robert being successful and I have no doubt his speed is still there. The problem is letting him get on with it vs a PR stunt. He needs out of the limelight to get it together and that’s just not possible.

      That and what happens if you have a big one.

      Getting out of the cockpit is frankly nothing. Imagine SV silly behaviour in Baku of ramming LH had coincided with RK holding the wheel with his weaker arm…?

      I have no knowledge of his injuries but I know my wrist would have given way. Yet I raced. Succesfully. It’s just no one other than the FIA and MSA knew the extent.

      Robert won’t be afforded that.

      1. The hardest he would have had to work with Vettels little tap would be to swap hands to free up an appropriate digit.

  17. I find Kubica very eloquent. His experience has obviously really made him grown as a person and I find him such an interesting character now.

    When he was sort of in the title hunt with BMW, we saw him buckling under the pressure (no surprise being from a small country), but I believe it could be different now as he has seen not all hinges on F1 success. I think that’s what he’s mostly referring to when saying he could become a better driver than in the past.

    1. Kubica buckling under pressure in 2008? I guess we were watching different F1 then. It was BMW who announced they were abandoning development of 2008 and focus on 2009 car. They decided fighting for 2008 championship was a long shoot (which was kind of true) but definitely Kubica was not the one who buckled.

      From BBC article in 2009:
      “After winning the seventh race of the season in Montreal, Kubica’s title challenge was undermined by Theissen’s decision to immediately refocus the team’s development on the 2009 car.
      Kubica was stung by the decision – and it led to some widely publicised criticism of the team by their star driver.”

      1. @bob80: He did. Wilting performances. Nerves visible. Even when the championship was a long shot and not even realistic. Just being in the fray seemed to spook him. This is normal for most so don’t blame him, but was revealing nonetheless.

  18. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    3rd August 2017, 21:11

    I feel privileged to have witnessed Kubica return to an official competitive F1 session…..Having believed 100% since his accident that he would return to racing in F1. I can appreciate the every day difficulties he suffers with, because I have similar mobility challenges in the lack of dexterity, the way the arm rotates from the shoulder, and limited muscle strength. I am confident that Robert will be back full time in a F1 race meeting very soon. The only uncertainty is if it happens in 2017 or 2018.

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