Robert Kubica has revealed that he is already a fan of the new Valencia street circuit, and hopes that it can help to put him back into contention for the Formula One world title.
The Pole appeared to be a surprise factor in the battle with the Ferrari and McLaren drivers after taking his - and BMW Sauber's - first win in Canada, but has since slipped away from the front of the field in races, even if he remains in touch with the two Ferrari drivers in the standings. While he does not hold forth strong views on whether he remains a contender or not, Kubica remains hopeful that the team can pull out of its downward spiral on the newest circuit on the F1 schedule.
"I think I was in a better position after Canada," he said of his position in the drivers' standings, "Unfortunately, we missed some pace in the last three or four races to Ferrari and McLaren, and Renault and Toyota have improved quite a lot.
"At Hockenheim, my race was screwed by the safety car when I was running P4, which was a very good place for me with good pace but, in Hungary, that pace was a bit less competitive than in the beginning of the season, when it was much easier to fight against Ferrari and McLaren. Now we are sometimes [racing] against Renault and Toyota. But the team is working [hard] and we will see what will be the result in the next few races."
Speaking after the first day of action on Valencia's new harbourside street course, where he finished eighth fastest on a layout many compare favourably to Canada, Kubica was optimistic that it would suit his battling style.
"A new track is a new challenge for everybody, especially in first free practice," he noted, "Some drivers did prepare a bit more than the others with simulators and stuff like that, but it [only] took three or four laps to learn where to go.
"It is not easy on the braking. There are three or four very long straights which, at the end, you have heavy braking, so it is a very demanding track in this area. I feel I miss some high speed corners - in the last sector, there are some high speed corners, but they are flat-out easy - so it is a stop-and-go track, which is good for me.
"I like tracks like this, as there is a lot of heavy braking. The braking into the last corner is quite interesting with lateral load - you go from corner to corner and you have to choose a good line over the kerbs, which is quite nice. The first braking is quite difficult and also the braking into corner twelve is very good."
Asked if he though there was scope for 'racing' on the circuit, Kubica admitted that he was confident that overtaking was more possible than at Formula One's blue riband event in Monaco.