Robert Kubica made his first official visit to his new employers, Renault, effecitvely marking the end of the BMW Sauber chapter of the Pole’s F1 career.
All of Kubica’s 57 Grands Prix have occurred with BMW Sauber. He made his debut at the 2006 Hungarian GP, replacing the sacked Jacques Villeneuve and finishing 7th – although he was later disqualified for a technical infringement. At his very next race in Italy, he finished on the podium, a feat which he has achieved a further 8 times.
Having barrel-rolled his car at the 2007 Canadian GP, Kubica bounced back a year later at the same venue by taking his maiden F1 victory. He was in contention for the title right until the end of the season, but the decision of the BMW management to invest their energies in what proved to be a particularly useless 2009 challenger cost him all hopes of a tilt at the championship.
Robert’s move to Renault is a homecoming of sorts; he was earmarked in the diamond marque’s young development scheme.
During his visit, he took the opportunity to complete a seat fitting in a mock-up of the R30 to be used this season, and had the chance to meet the new team boss, Eric Boullier.
"I had been to the factory before when I tested for the team a few years ago, but it was great to return and see how much has changed," said Kubica.
"The site is bigger now and there are more facilities such as the CFD centre, which is very impressive and will play a big role in the development of our car this year.
"When you walk around the factory there is a great atmosphere and everybody seems motivated and up for the fight – just like me!
"So far things are going really well and the factory has given me a warm welcome. It’s still very early days and I need to get to know everybody in the team, but at the moment things are going well. I already have a good relationship with my engineers and we talk on the phone every week as I want to know as much about the new car as possible.
"The only difficulty I have is being patient enough to wait for the first test as it has been a long winter out of the car. Valencia cannot come soon enough!"
Like a kid in a candy store!