Robert Kubica admits it is difficult to make predictions about how competitive Renault will be in the first Korean F1 event this weekend at the new Yeognam circuit.
After weeks of rumour and speculation about whether or not the race would take place, the FIA has granted the circuit the necessary licence to host the event with Renault hoping to bounce back from a disappointing double DNF in Japan last time out.
Kubica had been running second before losing a wheel behind the Safety Car in the early stages of the race and despite failing to finish the race, the Pole said he was encouraged by the performance shown.
“I was positively surprised with our level of performance,” he said. “I was hoping that we would be more competitive than in Singapore, because Suzuka is a circuit more like Spa, but I didn't expect to be as quick as we were. It was a big effort in qualifying, and I was surprised to be so far up the grid, but ultimately it didn't pay off. But that's how racing is: problems can happen, and I haven't thought about it since. “
Kubica added that, despite the team's best preparations, it was difficult to predict how the team will perform in Korea until it hits the track for the first time in Friday practice.
“The track looks pretty interesting,” he said. “There's a bit of everything: long corners, high-speed and low-speed sections, and the final sector seems quite challenging. A lot will depend on the level of grip that the asphalt has. If the grip is high, then some of the corners will be easy flat; if it's low, they will be a big challenge.
“We have seen already this year, at races like Hockenheim and Canada, that the grip varies a lot with new tarmac. And that makes it very difficult to predict what will happen this weekend in Korea, and how competitive we can be relative to our rivals.”