Kubica eyeing championship challenge
|By Steven English and Jonathan Noble
||Tuesday, January 20th 2009, 13:08 GMT
Robert Kubica has vowed to put last season's frustrations at BMW Sauber's lack of progress behind him as he eyes a serious world title challenge in 2009.
The Pole was unhappy at the way that BMW Sauber sacrificed development on their F1.08 in favour of work on their 2009 car, claiming the team should have put every effort into trying to win last year's crown.
But clearly hoping that such a tactic will now pay off with the F1.09, Kubica says that as far he is concerned, last season's matter is now closed.
"I will concentrate on this year," said Kubica at the launch of the team's new car. "Sometimes it's very difficult to understand some situations, and everybody has different views. So I accept it."
Kubica was the first to try out BMW Sauber's new car at Valencia on Tuesday, and he has high hopes that the early focus on the machine could give the team the edge over their opposition.
"Quite a lot of effort and resources went into the 2009 car in the second half of the season, so of course I'm hoping that will pay off with this car, the F1.09," he explained.
"Last year was a good opportunity - maybe not for the championship but to finish a bit higher. Now it's completely different now.
"Last season is gone and we have to concentrate on this year to try to extract the maximum potential from the car. We are trying to do get everything sorted out for the first race."
Kubica sees no reason why BMW Sauber cannot match the development pace of rivals like McLaren and Ferrari, despite the way their form tailed off last season.
"I think last year was a very special year," he said. "I'm with BMW Sauber now for my fourth year. I joined when the team was completely new and during 2006 and 2007 we improved a lot. Last year we got lost I think sometimes.
"The development was not bringing the results we were expecting. We were bringing new parts and they weren't bringing any performance benefit - that was the problem I think. Once you lose a bit your way, it's very hard to come back because the other teams are working very hard as well."
Kubica concedes, however, that the raft of regulation changes for this year make it difficult to make firm predictions about form.
"At the start of the season everybody would like to win the championship, and everybody targets winning," he explained. "But there is only one winner, which is why the target is so hard to achieve - especially if you go against very tough and experienced competitors.
"It's not easy: everything has to be working 100 per cent with a lot of regulation changes. In previous years to develop cars you could take improvements from the last car, but now we are starting completely from new.
"We were running already in November and December a B-car, but our competitors were running 2009 spec on a 2008 car so we don't really have any reference. It makes everything more exciting and gives a bigger question of where we are, if we are competitive, and if we are going in the right direction."
Kubica has expressed some fears, however, that his size could be a disadvantage this year, because of the extra weight caused by the new KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems).
"It's going to be a really big thing but we will have to wait and see," he explained. "I feel that it will be an even bigger disadvantage to be taller and heavier. But I cannot change it."