Robert Kubica has admitted that he still cannot explain his sudden slump in form towards the end of the 2008 Formula 1 season – a drop-off so serious that it saw him fail to qualify inside the top ten for the final two races and almost indeed fall victim to the dreaded Q1, score no points in two of the last four outings and ultimately surrender third spot in the drivers' standings to Kimi Raikkonen right at the close.
For a man who – in the wake of his superb breakthrough Canadian Grand Prix success in Montreal back in June – sat atop the title chase and looked like a genuine contender for the crown, if always a slightly outside one, it was undeniably a disappointing end to what has been inarguably his finest campaign in the top flight to-date. Not that he is at all dissatisfied, he insists.
“I have been on the podium seven times and have scored points 14 times,” the man from Kraków reflected in an interview with the official Formula 1 website. “Altogether it was a good season – and of course I am happy for my contribution as a driver to the first win of the BMW-Sauber team.
“My job is driving to the best of my ability while avoiding mistakes; the rest is not really in my hands. Of course I need a competitive car and good strategies in order to win races, which simply means a lot of good people behind me. In the early part of this season we had excellent reliability and strong pace, which brought me to the unexpected position of leading after seven races.”
Though he acknowledges that 'Ferrari had a very good 'team players' attitude and deserved the constructors' title and Lewis [Hamilton] certainly deserved his drivers' championship', Kubica is well aware that had things gone otherwise, the outcome could have been altogether different – and the sport could now be celebrating its first-ever Polish world champion.
BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen has revealed that 'the working relationship' with the team's impressive if demanding young charge 'was not always easy' [see separate story – click here
], and if the latter insisted that he does 'not comment on our internal conversations', he recognised that 'clearly something went wrong'.
“Without going into the details, I think that several circumstances worked against me,” he explained, “especially in the last two races. I do not have a clear picture yet of what happened, but clearly something went wrong.
“To be frank, I have no clue. In both races I was quite happy with my car in the first free practice [but] quite the opposite in all the following sessions. The technical debriefings could not really give an answer to this strange situation.
“I think that from my side I have not done anything that has contributed to this disappointing end to the season. Also, we should not forget that in Singapore I lost a lot of points purely due to bad luck…”