Robert Kubica has reflected that he was both 'disappointed' and 'surprised' that Kimi Raikkonen elected not to pursue his negotiations with Renault F1 regarding a potential top flight return in 2011 – conceding that he would have liked the opportunity to be able to measure himself against a former world champion in the same car, and arguing that a driver of the Finn's undoubted calibre would have been just what the team 'needs'.
Following weeks and even months of fevered speculation that Raikkonen was in protracted talks with Renault with a view to snaring the cockpit that is currently occupied by young Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov, earlier this month the World Rally Championship-convert abruptly quashed the rumours by angrily denouncing the Enstone-based outfit for having 'used [his] name for their marketing' [see separate story – click here
], and stating: “I have never seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you 100 per cent that I will not be driving for them next year.”
Whilst that is likely good news for the under-fire Petrov – with his seat at the team in 2011 now looking rather more secure – fellow rallying fan Kubica confesses that he would gladly have welcomed Raikkonen into the fold.
“I was a bit surprised, because personally I thought there was a chance,” the Pole told ITV-F1
, “but apparently it wasn't the case – what he's saying is completely different to what the picture was looking like.
“I'm a bit disappointed; if there had been a chance, I would have been very pleased to race together in the team with him, because he is a great driver. To have a world champion driver as a team-mate would always be really good, and I think it's what Renault needs as well – but apparently it was completely not the case, so I don't really know what to think.”