Renault's resurgent Robert Kubica has admitted that he has not set his sights on beating Red Bull Racing duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel this season, preferring instead of simply working to restore the regie
at the front of the Formula One field.
The lanky Pole has been one of the revelations of the 2010 season, taking podium finishes in both Australia and Monaco and heading to this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix sixth overall in the standings, ahead of the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mates Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Despite joining Webber and Vettel in the Monaco top three, however, Kubica admits that the Red Bull pair remain out of his immediate reach on the track, and is contenting himself with restoring Renault's reputation after a couple of tough, and controversial, years that even the talent of Fernando Alonso could not salve.
"I don't think that our goal is to target Red Bull," he told journalists at Istanbul Park, "To be realistic, I think that they are still miles away and much quicker than us. At the moment, we are proceeding with our own plan to improve the car and consistently bring upgrades to every race, and this is what we will try to do for the rest of the season."
Asked to analyse the difference between his own R30 and the similarly-powered RB6, Kubica admitted that Renault's current challenger, while much improved over last year's car, still lacks in vital areas.
"The engine is only one of many components in the car but, obviously, the power train is not the problem," he noted, "What we need is more grip and more downforce, which our biggest deficit to the Red Bulls. Monaco is not the best track to promote Red Bull's strengths, and this is the reason why I think we were only a couple of tenths of a second off Mark Webber's pace, in Barcelona we were 1.5secs off. It's clear that the Red Bull has the best aerodynamic package."
Despite his matter-of-fact assessment of the battle with Red Bull, Kubica remains happy with the season so far, having not anticipated scoring an average of nearly ten points a race, even with the revised scoring system in place this year.
"It has been a positive start to the season, as before it began we were not expecting such a good result," he confirmed, "The last race in Monaco, and how well we performed, was a great surprise for the whole team. At the other races, we have used our opportunities well, like in Australia and Malaysia, where we were able to score good points."
The former BMW Sauber driver's performances, especially after a frustrating 2009 campaign with the German-Swiss team, have also reawakened interest in his services amongst rival outfits, with Ferrari thought to be a likely suitor until Thursday's news suggested that there would be little change in the 2011 line-up. Kubica, however, insists that he is distancing himself from the various rumours in order to concentrate on his role with Renault.
"This topic does not really interest me," he claimed, "I hope that I will be in a good position in the overall drivers' championship, which of course will help the team in the constructors' championship as well. The only thing that I am interested in is working well to get the biggest benefit for the team and myself.
"It is far too early to talk about . Of course, there will be a time to think about whether I should stay or leave Renault. Of course, there have been a lot of changes since I joined, and it was not that easy to push them through, as is totally natural when you are used to one thing. It is hard to change to something else, but I think that we are going into the right direction, and the team is in very good spirits.
"Many people thought it was wrong to come here in the first place, because of the troubles the team had and also their performance last year, [but] I am very happy with the move that I made, and the performance that the team and I are delivering."