Robert Kubica

Missed chance to race for Ferrari in F1 an “open wound” – Kubica

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In the round-up: Ferrari’s new World Endurance Championship driver Robert Kubica describes his regret at missing an opportunity to drive for them in Formula 1.

In brief

Not racing for Ferrari in F1 an ‘open wound’ – Kubica

Kubica was set to join Ferrari in 2012 but was unable to as a result of the serious injuries he suffered in a rally crash before the start of the 2011 season. He did not race in Formula 1 again until 2019.

“I think that driving a Ferrari represents something different than racing with others brands,” Kubica told La Gazzetta dello Sport “In the past I had looked for Ferrari many times.

“As an F1 driver I had two objectives: to win the world championship and get into the red. It didn’t happen because life served me another scenario. And I confess that an open wound remained. Now this opportunity is a great challenge.”

Verstappen to compete in iRacing Daytona 24 Hours

Reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen will compete in today’s iRacing Daytona 24 Hours simracing event in the top elite level with Team Redline.

Verstappen, who has participated in simracing with Redline for many years, will race with two team mates who have yet to be announced in the first major iRacing event of the year, which begins at 12:15pm UK time today.

It is the latest endurance simracing event the Red Bull driver has taken part in since winning his first world championship in 2021, having raced in the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours and iRacing Bathurst 12 Hours among others.

Driver killed in road car crash over Miami GP track

A driver died after crashing their car on an overpass near the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and falling onto the circuit used for the Miami Grand Prix.

Miami police confirmed the death of the driver who appeared to lose control of their car on the exit ramp and was ejected from the car, which came to a rest on the grand prix circuit on what is the back straight of the Miami International Autodrome.

In investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing.

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Comment of the day

After our look at the biggest track limits offenders of last season, Coventry Climax insists that the track limits rules revision ahead of 2022 was a step backwards…

For years, the approach was simple: nonexistent. And since everyone was violating the limits, there was zero controversy too.

It’s the FIA – and none others – who created the controversy, the complications and the intolerable delay and inconsistency around the subject, while apparently refusing to automate the issue.

Mind you, I’m all for cars staying within the limits. But there’s more ways to skin a cat. Said automation is one. Another is just make it inefficient again, and self punishing, to go beyond the lines, and without endangering people and drivers. It’s been discussed here before, and there are options to do it.

Controversy however, seems to be a business model in F1 these days.
Coventry Climax

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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29 comments on “Missed chance to race for Ferrari in F1 an “open wound” – Kubica”

  1. Controversy however, seems to be a business model in F1 these days.

    And not always unintentionally.

    I’ll just say this.

    The divide thats opened up between different segments of the fanbase over the past few years isn’t something Liberty are unhappy about.

    The divisive nature of some of the decisions and the split some things have caused as well as the nature of language used in discussions between the various fragments of the fanbase is also something that Liberty aren’t exactly unhappy about.

    Anyone that watches the IMSA Weather tech series last year may have noticed a few digs been sent Liberty’s way by John Hindhaugh & Jeremy Shaw. If you’ve noticed them then you know what people outside of F1 in the wider Motorsport world thinks of what Liberty are doing to the fanbase and how other categories may want to use it to attract people.

    1. Coventry Climax
      20th January 2024, 12:01

      Oh wow, that’s the first pan article comment I’ve ever drawn! ;-)

      1. Coventry Climax
        20th January 2024, 12:04

        Oh wow, stupid me: completely missed I made it to the COTD section.

      2. Coventry Climax
        20th January 2024, 15:21

        There is however something strange going on with the order of articles lately – or at least I don’t remember it being
        like that before: The most recent article isn’t necessarily on top anymore.
        Maybe that’s part of what fooled me?

  2. Track limits was never the big issue it became before david croft started whining about it a million times a session and made it a bigger issue than in actually was in many cases.

    For example cars had been using the extra tarmac on the exit of Ascari at Monza since the 90s and nobody ever complained.

    Yet Croft started whining about it every time a car went even slightly near running off the kerb in practice there one year and sky also started pushing that narrative and suddenly it became a big area of controversy that year having never been something brought up at that corner before.

    Same with other things like drivers swapping helmet designs or the team radio communications.

    They only beame big talking points and controversies when Sky & especially Croft started going on and on about them a hundred times a session.

    If you as the supposed expert keeps telling people and drumming it into them that something is awful and wrong they will start to see it as such.

    That’s why politicians and some of the more bias parts of the press will repeat certain narratives over & over. Even if they aren’t 100% factual if you say it enough a sizeable chunk of people will start to believe it and spread it themselves.

    1. That’s giving one regional commentator a lot more influence than seems warranted.

      Track limits have been an issue for a long time, but they were ignored by then-race director Whiting whose grip on such matters in F1 lasted for over 20 years. He had convinced himself that the tracks were designed to prevent the abuse of going over the lines, and he had an interest in this since he was also heavily involved in the FIA’s track inspection process. So whether he actually believed this or not, he argued this point again and again; running wide costs time. He did this even to the point of being publicly mocked by Hamilton after a particularly contentious drivers’ briefing at COTA, where Hamilton explained the obvious truth; running wide increases the radius of the corner, allowing a driver to carry more speed into, through, and out of the corner giving them a benefit in all these parts, as well as on the following straight.

      Track limit violations were also penalized… sometimes. This also led to complaints, because Vettel seemingly never got penalized despite making it a part of his driving style to run as wide as possible, while others were. These and other inconsistencies also led Alonso to admit he never said anything in the drivers’ briefing because he felt that speaking out would inevitably lead to Whiting taking an unusual amount of interest in his on track actions, and that this would often lead to penalties.

      New race directors Masi, Freitas and Wittich have done things differently. They no doubt have their own quirks, but even in the current way of handling it they’re already taking it far more seriously than Whiting ever did. And in doing so they’re getting a lot of pushback from the F1 teams who always want to ‘let them race’ (unless it involves one of the other 18 cars), as well as the media who – rather than aiming their complaints at the drivers violating the rules – instead complain about the people enforcing the rules.

      1. MichaelN, whilst you categorise him as “one regional commentator”, Liberty Media uses the commentary feed from Sky’s UK team for the international feed for F1 TV: similarly, some countries also licence the Sky UK commentary feed for their broadcast.

        In that sense, Croft isn’t just a “regional commentator” – because his comments are repeated through international feeds, he has a disproportionately wide reach and a higher impact than you seem to realise.

        1. I realize some countries use the English feed, but those that I’m aware of are either too small an audience to make having their own team worth the effort, or Canadians and Australians. In both cases they’re not exactly the kinds of markets that’ll make the FIA and Liberty change their approach.

          And I might be wrong, but I think F1TV took over the commentary for the free online content in either 2023 or even 2022. I admit I find Alex Jacques equally obnoxious as David Croft, so I usually watch them with very low volume so I’m not 100% sure which of them is shouting over the footage.

          And no doubt the English television has more of an influence than the French. But commentators complain about a lot of things, and there’s no clear link between that and the actions of the FIA or Liberty. Sometimes it’ll match up, but that’s bound to happen as the topics that lead to controversies or are generally worthy of discussion (and thus FIA and Liberty interventions) aren’t all that numerous.

          1. MichaelN, you will find that GT Racer has alluded to Sky having an influence on the governance of the sport because they pay a significantly larger percentage of the TV rights money than any other broadcaster.

            Only a couple of years ago, Dieter was pointing out on this website that the TV rights payments that Sky pays adds up to more than a third of the total TV revenue and more than a sixth of the total revenue of the entire sport. Outside of Formula 1, Liberty Media and Sky also have overlaps in business interests – Liberty Media is a part owner of some of Sky’s subsidiary companies in South America and Central America, for example.

            As for the FIA, they are also particularly dependent on revenues from FOM – perhaps even more so now, with the indication that some of the investment funds they put money into over the past couple of years have ended up losing value. That reliance on FOM, and their reliance on Sky, gives Sky in turn quite a lot of clout.

            To that end, we have seen the sport make changes that seem to have originated from Sky. Sky was reported to have been particularly active in lobbying the sport for a new sort of short event that could be more easily marketed, originally in the format of a reverse grid race. When that was proven to be unpopular, the alternative proposal that they came up with was a sprint race – and that proposal was eventually incorporated into the calendar.

          2. No, Brundle, Croft and Kravitz are basically the official voices of F1. Deny it if you want though. English is also the official language of F1 and do you think Liberty and the teams are listening to Spanish, Dutch or Japanese broadcasts? Please.

  3. A driver died after crashing their car on an overpass near the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and falling onto the circuit used for the Miami Grand Prix.

    I’m sorry some person died in a traffic accident, but what does that have to do with Formula 1? Why is this posted here?

    1. Also some frustration of a local English bar owner made the top of the Social Media section.

      Slow news day I guess.

    2. Not that I think it’s a good reason for that, but seems to me because he fell into the miami circuit that it becomes a f1 news.

  4. Recently a car skidded on ice and crashed through the railings of our village pond. The driver was not seriously hurt but the incident was only 25 miles from Snetterton race track and also being located in England the home of the famous Silverstone and Brands Hatch race tracks. Is this a news item missed by Race Fans?

    1. Did the driver crash onto Silverstone Circuit? No? There’s the difference.

  5. Wonder what wouldve happened to Alonso’s title bid in 2012 if Kubica was in the other car rather than Massa. I suspect Alonso would’ve had less points in total but probably a better chance at the title (if he was the top point scorer at the team) because Kubica would’ve been much more competitive than Massa thus also stealing points from Vettel.

    1. Yes, if I remember correctly Massa only outscored Vettel once – in Brazil when Vettel fell all the way to the back after his lap one incident. That was also the race he won the title, so it was irrelevant.

      Massa was kept on by Ferrari for far too long. It was understandable that they wouldn’t dump him going into 2010, given the events of 2009, but there were plenty of opportunities afterwards to take a gamble on someone like Kubica, or even Hülkenberg (who Alonso singled out for praise during these years).

      1. MichaelN, in the case of Kubica, Ferrari were exploring the option to replace Massa with him, but there was the problem of Kubica’s decision to sign a two year contract extension with Renault back in 2010.

        That appears to have pushed back any possibility of Kubica joining Ferrari until 2012, since it meant Ferrari had to negotiate compensation with Renault for terminating Kubica’s contract with them ahead of schedule. They did manage to negotiate a compensation package for Renault and provisional terms were sketched out between Ferrari and Kubica, but that all took place in early 2011 – with Kubica’s subsequent rallying accident and arm injury then ruling him out of the seat.

        As for Hulkenberg – Hulkenberg has said that Ferrari did have periodic discussions with him, and has claimed that he was close to signing a deal with them in the past, although he did not go into the details of why those discussions never quite worked out. There were a few rumours in the past that Ferrari were interested at first, but then received feedback and data from Sauber that made them think that Hulkenberg’s performances didn’t quite live up to his reputation.

    2. Nothing would’ve happened. Alonso and a competitive team-mate are two mutually exclusive things. Either Kubica would have been tamed by the team, losing much of his motivation and unable to steal points from Vettel, or Alonso would have lost his mental balance and start to underperform. In either case, Vettel is the WDC.

      1. Alonso and a competitive team-mate are two mutually exclusive things.

        A bit harsh on Hamilton.

        1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
          20th January 2024, 16:32

          Yes, because the Alonso-Hamilton partnership is famous for its longevity and for the harmonious relationship between the drivers.

      2. There was a certain Jenson, pretty much a competitive teammate, in 2015-2016 IIRC (the McL wasn’t, alas) I I do not remember any major friction between them. Maybe the problem wasn’t Fernando

        1. McLaren was so utterly rubbish in those years, even Fernando didn’t care who got the team’s support. Are you sure there wouldn’t have been any major friction if McLaren had been as competitive as in 2007?

          1. No, actually the McLaren was more competitive during a majority of the races from 2009-2013 than Ferrari. You must have a short memory.

          2. McLaren’s former competitiveness felt like a distant past after changing to Honda engines in 2015.

      3. Well, there was a guy named Jenson, who I think was pretty much competitive (although the 2015-2016 McL was not) and they got along famously well. And another guy named Esteban, I’d say extremely competitive, (the kind of guy who prefers to finish 19th provided his teammate gets 20th than finish 2nd and watch his teammate win) and they had no major friction. In fact Fernando made a huge contribution to Esteban’s only win that year. Giancarlo, Nelsinho, Felipe, Stoffel, Lance, even Kimi do not count as much as they were mostly pushovers. But if Fernando has got along well with all his teammates but one, maybe, just maybe, the problem was not about him.

      4. Alonso would have lost his mental balance and start to underperform.

        Bold assumption when you’re talking about literally the only driver that never underperforms.

        1. So you think Alonso as a defending double champion was only capable of the same performance as a (very) talented rookie?

  6. Coventry Climax
    20th January 2024, 12:16

    I’m amazed at how -literally, sorry about that word but it’s appropriate here- ground effect basics are designated “F1 hidden treasure”.
    As part of that is floor based, sure, under normal circumstances it’s ‘hidden’. ;-) Still I do feel that concept is stretched to beyond the point of breaking.
    Bottom line for Mercedes, despite the beautiful words: They are slow to understand they underestimated the concept.
    For the other teams there’s likely more of a funding and engineering capacity involved.

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