F1 »

Bell: Kubica will be 'of the same calibre' as Alonso

Robert Kubica will be eminently capable of picking up the cudgels from double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso when the Spaniard leaves Renault at season's end, argues acting team principal Bob Bell
Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso 'will be missed enormously' at Renault, Bob Bell has admitted as the Spaniard's last race with the French manufacturer approaches in Abu Dhabi this weekend – but the incoming Robert Kubica will prove to be 'of the same calibre' as the driver who has delivered the team the lion's share of its success in recent years.

Alonso will depart Renault at the end of the campaign to switch camps to Ferrari following no fewer than two drivers' titles, 17 grand prix victories, 16 pole positions and 41 podium finishes with the Enstone-based outfit since 2003, and the man from Oviedo will be replaced by his good friend and fellow poker player, current BMW-Sauber star and former Canadian Grand Prix-winner Robert Kubica.

Whilst Alonso's absence will naturally be keenly felt, acting Renault F1 team principal and technical director Bell is confident that the Pole will be more than capable of taking up the mantle of de facto number one.

“He (Alonso) has made a huge contribution to the team – especially winning two world championships in 2005 and 2006 – so he will be missed enormously,” confessed the Ulsterman. “It's often said that he is the best driver on the grid and I wouldn't disagree with that, so we're understandably sad to see the end of our very successful relationship.

“We're also looking forward, though, and we're all delighted to be welcoming Robert Kubica to the team as I believe he will quickly show that he is of the same calibre as Fernando. He's a strong team player, a great motivator and incredibly quick – so we have plenty to look forward to as we enter a new era for the team.”

Before that happens, of course, Renault and Alonso have one final race together – the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to be held around the eagerly-anticipated, all-new, anti-clockwise Yas Marina street circuit – and following a disappointing outing at Interlagos, Bell admits that a strong result, and ideally a podium, will be eagerly-sought as F1 gets set to enter the twilight zone.

“It was very frustrating to lose Fernando from the race through no fault of his own,” the 51-year-old mused of the opening lap Brazilian Grand Prix contretemps that claimed Alonso as its innocent victim, “although we have to be grateful that he didn't have a bigger accident with the Force India. We also have to be grateful that we didn't get incinerated on the pit wall as we felt the heat from the fireball in the pit-lane!

“Romain [Grosjean] simply didn't have the pace in the early part of the race as he wasn't happy with the grip of the car, which cost him a lot of ground. The weekend didn't meet our expectations, especially as we lost our advantage over BMW [in the constructors' championship], and we now face an uphill struggle to beat them in the final race.

“I think all the teams enjoy visiting a new country, though, and a new track always has a modern infrastructure with so much space available for the mechanics and engineers. It remains to be seen how good the circuit will be in terms of the action it produces, but from what I've seen so far it seems the organisers have done an excellent job. As a team we enjoy the challenge of a new track, and we will be ready to exploit any advantage we can.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber.F1.08, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan
12.10.2014- Fabiana Flosi (BRA)
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Fernando Alfonso - Unregistered

October 28, 2009 2:42 PM

Kubica is one of those guys that's right up there, in terms of talent, with any of the WDC and in certain aspects better. He came to BMW, and in a German run outfit was able to get the better of very quick Nick 2 out of 3 years. He hustles the car like nobody else and can deliver the results. The question is will the new rules suite his style.

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.