With BMW Sauber achieving its aim of bcoming a front-running team in its third year in Formula One, Robert Kubica found himself both on top of the podium and in the thick of the title fight for much of the 2008 season.

Tipped to continue his form into the new-look 2009 campaign, the Pole took time out of his winter 'preparations' to answer questions from Crash.net...

Crash.net:
Robert, you had a great season in 2008, were you surprised to be a title contender for so long?

Robert Kubica:
Once we had solved the problems from the pre-season testing, we had a very strong first half of the season. We could fight with McLaren and Ferrari and we made the best of our opportunities in Bahrain, Malaysia and especially in Canada. Obviously, I would have liked to fight for the title until the last race. But, overall, I'm very happy with the 2008 season.

Crash.net:
Looking to 2009, do you think the rule changes could shake up the established order and give BMW a chance to close further on McLaren and Ferrari?

RK:
That's impossible to answer right now, because there are still too much uncertainties around next year's regulations. At the moment, everybody is looking for the best way to go with the new cars. There are still a lot of testing opportunities before the first race of the 2009 season. We will only know more about the performance of every team once all the 2009 cars have hit the track.

Crash.net:
How do the 2008 and 2009 cars compare from a driving point of view?

RK:
Again, this is very difficult to answer at the moment. We have lost a lot of aerodynamical grip in fast corners because of the revised regulations around wings and bodywork. On the other hand, the new slick tyres give more grip in slow corners. That gives the cars a complete new character. You have to adjust your driving style to this. In addition, it's a new challenge for the driver to set-up a car.

Crash.net:
What influence will the new cars have on F1 as a spectacle? Will the new aero and slick tyres increase overtaking and will the power boost from KERS improve the chances of passing?

RK:
I don't think KERS will change the overall picture. The gaps between the teams won't get any bigger. And I don't expect more overtaking, especially not under braking. The braking distances of modern F1 cars are just too short to make a big difference.

Crash.net:
Towards the end of the 2008 season, your team-mate Nick Heidfeld seemed to recover his early-season form and was actually quicker than you in the final two races. Do you see him presenting you with a sterner challenge in 2009?

RK:
Basically, it is always good for a team if both drivers are very quick. I'm happy with Nick as team-mate. He brings a lot of experience to the team, he has shown on numerous occasions what he can do with a F1 car. So, yes, I'm looking forward to the challenge in 2009.

Crash.net:
You took your first F1 win - and BMW's first - in Canada back in June, but do you think you will be able to regularly challenge for victories next season?

RK:
It's way too early to make any serious predictions. We hope to win and we will do everything we can to celebrate more often in 2009.

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