Kubica was wrong to allege favouritism at BMW – Heidfeld

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Nick Heidfeld says Robert Kubica was wrong to allege BMW gave him preferential treatment when the pair were team mates.

The duo raced alongside each other at BMW Sauber from 2006 to 2009. Speaking to the official F1 website, Heidfeld said he rated Kubica as his “most complete” team mate.

“He was the team mate I had the longest in Formula 1,” said Heidfeld. “I would say that he was the most complete of all the team mates I had.

“He was not as quick as Kimi [Raikkonen] was in the race. He was not as quick as [Mark] Webber was in qualifying. Obviously, that’s my personal view. But overall, as a whole package, he was really up there.”

But Heidfeld said he was unhappy with comments his rivals made about the team at the time.

“What I didn’t like about him, or maybe what was also for himself something not really helpful, is that he most of the time thought that the team was benefiting me over him because it was a German team, with BMW, and I was a German driver.

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“I didn’t like it because he did put that out in the press quite often and I think it was simply not true, always saying the team prefers me over him and I get better whatever. That was not true.”

BMW left F1 at the end of 2009
Kubica returned to F1 racing last season following an eight-year absence due to the horrific injuries he sustained in a 2011 rally crash.

“To come back after that accident – even if his performance was not what most of us would have liked, including himself – to come back after that, not only physically but also mentally, is amazing,” said Heidfeld.

Another of Heidfeld’s team mates, Mark Webber, questioned whether they received equal treatment. During the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix, Heidfeld got ahead of his team mate thanks to their pit strategies. The pair were driving for Williams, who at the time used BMW engines.

“They gave me the a better strategy for the pit stop call,” Heidfeld acknowledged. “There are various stories going around why that happened. I won’t go into detail.

“But I think if you look at the race it was not a bad decision because I came up behind Alonso and did one of the overtaking manoeuvres I’m most proud of,” he added. “I overtook him clean and then finished second.”

That was the first of eight second-place finishes for Heidfeld. His record for most runner-up finishes without ever scoring a win remains unbroken.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Kubica was wrong to allege favouritism at BMW – Heidfeld”

  1. The lack of comments shows that we all know the consequences of criticizing Kubica on the internet….

    1. Its just Nick Heidfield. The most boring F1 driver ever. Makes me wonder how I was a fan of his!

      1. And another missed title shot for Bottas

      2. I’ll second that, @david-beau. Although I can sleep comfortably knowing I was never a fan of his! What an uninspiring sportsman.

    2. And what they are? He’s not critizing Kubica, he’s sharing his opinion, which i think is absolutely right. Because Kubica wasn’t as fastest as Raikkonen, nor as Webber, overall he was pretty good, but was he a champion material or was he in Bottas level (most sure). I think Kubica was pretty much on the level of Bottas, good driver, but not top driver. And also BMW at least that i remember didn’t favour Heidfeld like Kubica said… Probably was that Heidfeld was a strong teammate, and hard to beat… And probably Kubica was frustrated about that, nothing more.
      Kubica had the accident and was retirement for him. But i don’t think he was champion material, but a pretty good driver.

      1. Fernando Cruz
        24th April 2020, 18:03

        He was improving, at Renault it was clear Kubica was already one of the top 4 (the others being Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel). It was a shame (the accident early 2011) as I think he would develop to be more complete than Vettel (as good as the German with a top car and better with a not so dominant car (in 2010 he even managed to beat Vettel’s Red Bull with an inferior Renault at Monaco and Spa).

    3. Haha I said something positive and still copped it on another site

  2. “There are various stories going around why that happened. I won’t go into detail.”
    – Why? This is something that happened 15 years ago or 15 about a month from now to be more precise. I could understand better if it was about something that happened in the recent past, but something from the distant past, not as much, as the matter in question is far from being up-to-date relevant. In general, it’s more suitable to open up in detail about an old matter in public than a recent matter still fresh in people’s memory.

    1. He meant ‘because it’s true’.

    2. @jerejj the thing is, there are still some Kubica fans who still seem to be stirring up allegations that BMW Sauber were biased against Kubica even now (as evidenced by Dave’s post here). There are some who still seem to take the attitude that every time Kubica beat Heidfeld, it was because of Kubica’s brilliance, whereas whenever Heidfeld beat Kubica, they refuse to accept the possibility that Heidfeld could have beaten Kubica purely on merit and therefore accuse the team of being biased in Heidfeld’s favour against Kubica.

      There are not many who are like that, and there are many who have a more level headed view of affairs, but unfortunately there is that zealous minority that ruins things for everybody.

  3. OMG. If this is the most interesting conclusion from the whole interview with Nick Heidfeld than I need to say – good luck !

  4. Respect, Heidfeld. Especially considering the team favoured Robert in Canada, and Nick didn’t mention this as proof for this claim.

  5. Interesting. I didn’t see much accusation of favoritism in either direction regarding these two in the BMW days before this interview – mostly I got the impression they were both occasionally frustrated with over-focus on corporate goals regardless of reality on the track. However, I didn’t see the German or Polish press of that time, and logically one would think that’s where such accusations would be most effectively placed if they were going to happen.

    I’ll probably never know the full truth of this one. I just consider myself lucky I got to watch these two and BMW working well together in the 2007-2008 era.

    1. You are correct. Lack of topics caused in recent weeks that some people try to find sensations which never existed. I followed also this particular period of F1 and today I can recall that the only claim made by Robert was that BMW tried to help Nick to understand how faster you can bring tyres to the optimal temperature window instead of developing the car and keep pace with other teams. Unfortunately for BMW the task for 2008 was achieved just when BMW and Robert Kubica wan their first GP. From that point on there was no development pace required by other teams to compete till end of the season. What makes me happy about this particular season is the fact that even experts from UK found Robert as the man of the season although their countryman won the championship – see Autosport issue November 20 2008.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    22nd April 2020, 22:13

    To be honest I liked Heidfeld, and back then it often felt that Kubica was so hyped by both BMW and F1 in general that Heidfeld could have won a race and nobody would have noticed – if there was favouritism at all it seemed more aimed in Kubica’s favour.

    1. Yeah for sure but there’s no denying that Heidfeld arguably would’ve been just as if not more popular with F1 fans

  7. Nick who … ??

  8. Am I sensing a pattern here?

  9. I’m a kubica fan but don’t remember him implying preference, like newer car parts, but maybe in some comments he politically was subtly suggesting a german team would preference to a German driver. Also there is not as much rift between the 2 drivers as back a decade ago, they get along. so I hope the media don’t blow this up. They have both given each other praise in the media, like in this article heidfeld does, yet the headline reads the negative of the interview. Don’t go click bait racefans.net

  10. Fernando Cruz
    24th April 2020, 19:10

    Probably Kubica was wrong to allege favouritism at BMW, but in 2008 he showed he could be a title contender with a car not as good as a Ferrari or a McLaren. He was improving and at Renault in 2010 it was clear he was already one of the top four drivers in F1 (the others being Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel). Had the accident not happened I feel he would be better than Vettel (as good as the German with a Top car like Red Bull from 2010 to 2013 and better without a dominant car. I am sure he would have done better than Vettel did in Ferrari in 2017 and 2018).

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