Kubica renews criticism: BMW threw away only one title chance in 2008

(Motorsport-Total.com) – “I still regret it today,” says Robert Kubica, when the interview with ‘GP Racing’ was about the 2008 Formula 1 season. With the only victory of his Formula 1 career, fourth place in the World Championship and the interim World Championship lead, it was the most successful season in Kubica’s time in the premier class. But the Pole still mourns the missed World Cup title.

Nick Heidfeld, Mario Theissen, Robert Kubica, David Coulthard

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In the past, he criticized BMW for not taking enough risks and not putting all his energy into the fight for the title. “I still have exactly the same view as twelve years ago,” Kubica reiterated his criticism. Even then he had the feeling that it could be “our only chance” for the world title.

“At the time, I thought that we had to take advantage of our opportunities. You never know when you’ll get another chance in life,” says Kubica, who is not alone in this opinion. He reveals: “Ten years later I met some of the mechanics who were there at the time […] and they have exactly the same view. “

“They regret it because ultimately we didn’t get another chance,” said Kubica. The car for the 2009 season was then “a big disappointment”. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I was afraid of,” says Kubica. After the disappointing 2009 season, BMW completely withdrew from Formula 1.

The goal for 2008 was only a race win

There was never a chance like 2008. “We had [2008] not the fastest car, that’s a fact. And usually the fastest car wins the championship, “Kubica knows. Nevertheless, he led the World Championship after the seventh race in Canada.” Ferrari and McLaren were stronger on some tracks than others, but they had technical problems and mistakes, “he recalls yourself.

The later world champion Lewis Hamilton, for example, missed the points three times in the first eight races of the season and vice champion Felipe Massa started the year with two losses. “So I took the lead in the championship and was able to do it for a long time [um den Titel] fight even though we didn’t have the fastest car, “remembers Kubica.


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Until the penultimate race in China, Kubica had at least some mathematical chances for the title. It is all the more incomprehensible for him that BMW held back some updates at that time. “It was even more annoying that we tested some parts on the 2008 car that brought a lot more performance, but we saved them for 2009,” he reports.

“Ultimately, you never know if we will [den Titel] would have won or not, “admits Kubica. But he would have liked BMW to at least have pushed harder.” Back then, it was simply a matter of achieving the goals. And I remember that back then [für die Saison 2008] had the goal of winning a race, “said Kubica. They already did that in Canada.

Focus too early on 2009?

“[BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen said it was our goal to win a race on our own. […] Then someone asked if it was our goal to fight for the championship. He denied this “, reveals Kubica and explains:”[Nach Kanada] missed another goal. 2009 was another goal, but the 2008 championship went on for five or six months. “

“I remember Fuji where I qualified sixth and Nick [Heidfeld] as 16. Our performance was nowhere. Nevertheless, I led one lap and finished second. If we had used the parts we had tested three months earlier, I am sure I would have won this race, “Kubica gives an example.

Instead of concentrating on the fight for the title, BMW has already placed a great focus on the 2009 season and the major changes to the rules at the time. “2009 was a very important year for BMW,” explains Kubica, who at the time had never known the reason for this. But later he realized why so many resources had already been shifted to 2009.

“I think someone knew there was a risk that BMW could get out if we did [2009] are not competitive, “says Kubica. But he had never known that himself at the time. In retrospect, he therefore sees that it was” maybe the right decision “to start the 2009 season early because of the extensive changes in the rules.

Could you have avoided the exit?

“They loved the KERS technology. We may have been the first team to test the KERS car,” he recalls. Nevertheless, the 2009 season was a debacle and BMW said goodbye to the premier class at the end of the year. “In August we learned that BMW had decided to get out of Formula 1,” says Kubica.

After the race in Hungary, he said goodbye to the team for the summer break. “Two or three days later I got a call and I was told that BMW would announce its exit from Formula 1 tomorrow. It was a shock for everyone. I think I still had a contract for at least another year,” so Kubica.


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“If we had been more competitive in 2009, it would have been more difficult for BMW to quit,” he believes. But that didn’t happen any more than the World Cup title in 2008. “I still regret it today, but I also know that I was lucky to be in this position because there are many talented pilots who never had the chance,” explains Kubica.

Incidentally, there are also disagreements to Kubica’s thesis that BMW had invested too little at the end of the 2008 season. The then motorsport director Mario Theissen recently said in the podcast ‘Starting Grid’ that he “didn’t see this neglect”, and Kubica’s then team-mate Nick Heidfeld told ‘Beyond The Grid’ that BMW had “not slackened” at the time.

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