Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo, 18-inch tyre test, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Kubica: ‘Although I’m getting old I can still do it’

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Robert Kubica was satisfied with his fitness after two days of testing for Alfa Romeo this week.

In brief

Kubica pleased with fitness over tyre test

Robert Kubica has been testing Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres for two days at the Circuit de Catalunya this week to gather data for the tyre supplier. Having only driven a single practice session and 100 kilometre filming day in an F1 car this year, he said he was pleased to be fit for so much running.

“Quite busy today really,” said Kubica after the test concluded, “also productive. It’s always interesting to discover new features and tyres are very important, in motorsport, especially Formula 1 and this was the first test, for our team, with 18-inch wheels.

“[It was] a lot of miles, a lot of laps, a lot of data, so our tyre department will have a lot of things to analyse, to look at data, to come to some conclusions.

“I would say it’s been a productive but also tough two days. I haven’t been in the car for six months, apart from last Friday and to do two full days, at such a difficult track – the fitness demands of a track like Barcelona, it’s been nice to see that although I am getting old, I’m still able to do it.”

Silverstone adds capacity for return of fans

Silverstone have announced there will be a new grandstand at Chapel for this year’s British Grand Prix. Although attendance restrictions are yet to be confirmed, with previous grand pris this season happening behind closed doors or with very minimal numbers of fans, tickets are currently on sale for Silverstone, including at the new grandstand.

The new grandstand will offer views of Maggots, Becketts and Chapel, as well as further-away line of sight to Village, the Loop and the Wellington Straight. Tickets are available as a three-day weekend booking or for Sunday’s race day only.

Alfa Romeo bringing more updates for 2021 car

Like McLaren, Alfa Romeo are not done working on their 2021 car. The team is one of three, along with Haas and Williams, yet to score a point this season.

Speaking after the Spanish Grand Prix, chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar said: “We still are pushing for some upgrades and we’ll have some new parts in the next few races. So definitely, we are willing to close the gap, we are willing to fight with the teams that are ahead, to see if we can reach the top 10.”

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Comment of the day

D. Scott Johnson says that although Mercedes have recovered ground they lost in Bahrain, Red Bull’s ability to deliver in-season improvements and upgrades makes their strong starting position an ongoing threat:

Mercedes figured out what was going wrong with how their low-rake design was being affected by the rules changes after Bahrain. They then proceeded to develop the car, finding various marginal gains. Red Bull (for once) did an excellent development job in the off season and arrived with at Bahrain with a car slightly faster than the Mercedes.

This is no longer the case. That’s why Verstappen seemed so annoyed after quali in Portugal. “Where the hell did my margin go?” I could almost hear it, the body language was so clear.

Mercedes are still taking Red Bull seriously because the latter are so good at in-season development. The margin Merc has right now will evaporate in a race or two as Red Bull figure out what’s making the car so twitchy and hard on the tires during a race. This will return Perez to the front, finally giving Red Bull the devastating one-two strategy punch of an ascendant driver backed up by an extremely good one that Merc has had since Bottas arrived.

This is the secret sauce that allows Merc to exploit any opponent’s strategy mistake (and remove most strategy options) with devastating effect. Another team able to field such a duo will neutralize this critical advantage.

So, in my opinion, in spite of Hamilton’s superb start to the season, it ain’t even close to over yet.
D. Scott Johnson

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On this day in F1

Coulthard won while the Ferraris swapped places behind him today in 2001
  • 20 years ago today David Coulthard won the Austrian Grand Prix, while Rubens Barrichello let team mate Michael Schumacher by for second place.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 32 comments on “Kubica: ‘Although I’m getting old I can still do it’”

    1. I’m almost cynically expecting it to eventually break down with one of either RedBull or Mercedes eventually winning 7 races in a row before the season is over.

      But for now, I can enjoy going into races just now not fully knowing who will take pole position (or at least, not expecting a Mercedes pole every week!).

      Monaco will be a RedBull circuit you’d think right…?

      1. I don’t think so. I think it has been pretty obvious from pre-season that mercedes was going to keep dominating.
        Max did win from pole last year at Abu Dhabi, he followed it up by being comfortably faster in qualifying for Bahrain.
        Merc dominated Imola, the rain opened up the race, Portimão and Spain was dominated by Merc, and as usual they were mega on the chicane.
        Everything looks the same, merc in control. Mercedes are as ever favourites for Monaco their car is phenomenal in the low speed corners, it just turns instantly.

        1. @peartree – Yeah and the other big problem Red Bull have this year is that their car is just no-where near as fast as the Mercedes when using the medium or hard tyres. They seem to be able to match them on them on the softs but that’s it.

      2. The next two tracks should suit RB, and Monaco should suit Max if he can string a lap together. Point and squirt, no long corners where Max seems to be chewing up the tyres. I fully expect Max to be leading the championship after Baku.
        Failing that they will need to rely on the Merc having issues, otherwise its game over.

    2. Kubica is getting old, but so is Hamilton and Alonso, and Railonnen is nearly 6 years older than Kubica. Age doesn’t matter, so many great drivers from that 2000s era that are still driving great, look at Scott Dixon on his 19th indycar season.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        13th May 2021, 7:38

        Age might not matter as much, but coming back into the sport at an older age (and after an accident) has led to many disappointments for me as a fan.

        1. It’s too bad that you had to leave the sport for so long, @coldfly… ;-)

            1. I’m old enough recalling the bi-weekly Caption Competition which often had more of these gems.
              @jimmi-cynic, @dbradock

      2. Driving with one hand and a six-year (?) gap would be impossible to overcome for every racing driver that ever existed. We’ve seen how much even a one or two year gap hurt two of F1’s most highly rated multiple WDCs whom still had use of both hands AND a chassis that was not total garbage. For me, the what could have been Kubica story is one of the most frustrating in modern F1 history.

        1. That’s what I was thinking.

    3. I think if Red Bull is going to solve its car’s “twitchy-ness”, they would’ve done it a long time ago. The fact that it is a car trait for this long seems to suggest that it is Max’s preferred style.

      It’s funny but I think to help Max’s championship bid, they might need to move the car out of Max’s style and please the 2nd driver more in order for him/her to be a more effective rear-gunner and hence avoid situations like Spain.

      1. I think this car from Red Bull appears to be more stable compared to the predecessors, that was in Bahrain. However, maybe I am wrong, but since Portimao, I have noticed that Verstappen has been having more moments where he has been losing the car. Whether this is down to driving style or setup, I don’t know, but another thing I have noticed, is that the Honda engine appears to deliver a lot more torque and revs in the lower gears compared to the Mercedes.

        1. @krichelle – I might be wrong but it’s seemed like when it’s a bit colder as it has been in Europe so far and they are on the medium or harder tyres, the Red Bull really struggles. Perhaps once we start getting to warmer climates, they’ll find more performance.

      2. As indicated by Max and some on this site: the Max driving style does not exist. Neither does he want a twitchy car that is sub par with the Mercedes. So no the RB does not ‘fit him’ or is built for him. This is just a made up story to explain the gap between him and his team mates. Max trait is that he adapts quickly to anything you throw at him. He himself indicates he needs 3 laps. His ability to switch between SIM racing (real sims, not the F1 game etc), in which he is amongst the best gamers, and his regular car is admired by some of his fellow drivers (Norris can do it too and probably Russell and Leclerc to some extent). And ofcourse he gave a demonstration of it in his very first race with the RB.

        1. I would consider it to perhaps be more of a myth to claim that Max does not have any sort of driving style at all. I think it is very unlikely that there will not be at least some distinguishing driving traits that Max, or any other driver for that matter, would always show irrespective of the type of car that they are driving.

          1. ColdFly (@)
            13th May 2021, 8:50

            Indeed @anon, these driving styles, and preferences exist. Even half an F1 fan can see the different racing lines and has heard certain drivers to prefer some over- or understeer.

            I guess the ‘denial’ is merely an exaggerated answer to ridicule those who claim the car ‘made4Max’ explains when there is a 1s quali gap with other highly rated F1 racers.

          2. Indeed there is.

            Couple that with the fact that Adrian Newey designs cars to go very fast providing that the driver can “manage” it and keep it right in the window it’s designed for and it’s quite possible that it would take someone with Max’s particular skill set to be able to maximise the cars potential.

    4. Ah, 20 years ago, the infamous “let Michael pass for the championship” message from Todt. Good times.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        13th May 2021, 7:45

        I’m glad they don’t do that anymore.
        Now they simply say the other car is “on a different strategy”, or “is racing for the win” (even if no further pit stops are required).
        @kaiie

        1. @coldfly You probably missed the /s again while trying to be funny

          1. It’s actually more enjoyable to leave some readers wonder if there are more ‘layers’ to my comments.
            Don’t worry, it’ll only take you an extra 1.3s.

    5. That’s why Verstappen seemed so annoyed after quali in Portugal. “Where the hell did my margin go?”

      He still had the margin in speed. He just didn’t have the margin on track width. His deleted lap time was good for pole. On a track where he couldn’t really seem to get the car setup properly.

      Although granted he had a much bigger margin in the first two races. It seems to be coming down. In Spain it was estimated to be only a tenth still.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        13th May 2021, 7:51

        (The margin) seems to be coming down. In Spain it was estimated to be only a tenth still.

        What’s coming down even more is your pseudo science.
        Just a few days ago you couldn’t stop claiming the gap was 1.3s :P

        1. @coldfly You don’t get that that was based on two drivers going for fastest lap and merely to refute the lame excuses that somehow Red Bull had such a slow car that they had no chance to win at all.

          1. Oh and that one tenth wasn’t from me. That was from Ed Straw or Peter Windsor since actual F1 analysts do agree that Verstappen could and should have had pole in all 4 weekends so far.

            1. Ed Straw 🤣🤣 and Peter Windsor 🤣🤣🤣

              “Actual F1 analysts”!? I’m afraid you’ll find they are just opinionated journos…

            2. @psynrg I’m afraid you’ll find that Peter Windsor is one of the most knowledgeable people on all things Formula 1. He used to be team manager @ Williams F1 (he was in charge of sponsorship for them before that) AND headed up Ferrari’s UK base in the late 80s (and was set to be team principal for the stillborn US F1 effort). He’s been privy to loads of insider info over the years because he still maintains relationships with countless people in various teams/jobs… from team principals to drivers & everybody in between. He’s been a regular fixture in the F1 pitlane since the late 70s. I certainly trust his opinion more than the usual opinionated random internet commenters…

    6. But what if any quarantine restrictions for arrivals aren’t in place by November anymore. Unless November comes too soon for this? Over six months to go and roughly four months until the build-up process has to commence, so a bit premature to be worried.

      COTD: Yes, RB’s in-season development has generally been good, but this season might be a different story because of the upcoming technical regulation changes.

      1. @jerejj the Australian Gobernment has been entirely consistent with its requirements that all overseas travellers quarantine for 14 days in designated facilities at their expense.

        Given they’ve stated they don’t expect international travel to be opened up before mid 2022, I’d say there would be no chance of F1 being able to go ahead unless the entire group can quarantine for 14 days, just like they made the tennis players do.

        IF they were to be coming straight from Brazil there’d be even less of a desire to accomodate F1.

        A lot more to come on this yet.

        1. @dbradock I see what you mean – valid points.

    7. Well, there’s this week’s wallpaper, cheers Keith.

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