Robert Kubica the best outside bet? (2008 European Grand Prix preview)

Robert Kubica may find his BMW better suited to Valencia than the Hungaroring

Robert Kubica may find his BMW better suited to Valencia than the Hungaroring

Seeing the BMWs of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld at the sharp end of a Grand Prix isn’t really a surprise any more – not since their one-two finish at Montreal anyway.

The team are yet to re-capture the high Kubica’s maiden win. But I think Kubica could be a dark horse for victory this weekend. Here’s why.

There are two reasons why I think Kubica could spring a (minor) surprise around the Circuito Urbano Valencia.

First of all, he loves street circuits. In the past Kubica has said that at street tracks, where the cars run close to the kind of unforgiving concrete walls he smashed into at Montreal last year, he feels most like a real racing driver.

In the pouring rain at Monte-Carlo this year he never put a wheel wrong – unlike fellow podium occupants Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. In his younger years he dazzled in the prestigious Formula Three race on the street of Macau in 2004.

The second reason is that BMW often seem particularly strong at circuits that demand good aerodynamic efficiency and straight-line speed. The new Circuito Urbano Valencia has been likened to Montreal and Bahrain for its stop/start nature with long straights and big braking zones. BMW have done well at both those tracks this year – scoring a one-two at Montreal and Kubica taking his first pole position at Bahrain.

Yes, BMW were well off the pace at the Hungaroring and struggled with a lack of grip. Whether this is a mere blip or part of a trend is hard to say at this stage. But I suspect Valencia will play to Kubica’s strengths and, perhaps with a little safety car assistance, win number two could be on the cards.

How do you think Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld will fare in the European Grand Prix? Who’s your tip for an above-average performance at Valencia?

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19 comments on Robert Kubica the best outside bet? (2008 European Grand Prix preview)

  1. Hey All,

    I think BMW have fallen behind ferrari and McLaren since the 1-2 at Montreal so I don’t see them being a threat this weekend unless it rains or with a little help from the safety car.

  2. I think if there is a surprise winner it will be a Toyota. They’ve been consistently fast since Magny-Cours and have huge development potential.

  3. Kester said on 21st August 2008, 14:07

    I really don’t know for this one. It literally could be anyones race. I’m certain we’ll have some saftey cars which are bound to disrupt someones strategy.

    We could see our 101st F1 race winner this Sunday.

  4. Hey Jack, you have the same name as me, and you have the same views as me. Give me back my identity!

  5. Dan M said on 21st August 2008, 14:23

    I think the SC will be an issue at some point in the race and will mess up the order a little, who knows who it will benefit.

    The circuit appears to be so fast and tight that one slip up could take out a couple of the top drivers (Massa starting P1 in the wet is a big concern). I’m going to put my money on Alonso if Renault can get there strategy correct.

  6. I don’t think Kubica will have a chance, he’s been terrible since Canada.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st August 2008, 14:38

    Perhaps Jack and Jack need to start using surnames!

  8. Alex Cooper said on 21st August 2008, 15:03

    If a safety car’s likely to come out then my money’s on Piquet!!

    Actually I think it’s Alonso’s race if McLaren and Ferrari can’t make the chequered flag. Alonso was mega at Catalunya and he’ll have that home support again.

  9. Dan M said on 21st August 2008, 15:23

    Who’s going to be the first to call himself Jack #1?

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st August 2008, 17:33

    Alex – not sure I agree Alonso did that well at Catalunya. He qualified well, yes, but he was very light on fuel. He spun on the formation lap and fell back at the start, and then retired. I still think his Melbourne drive was his best this year.

    Cracking avatar by the way!

  11. For an outside bet, I think it’s between Kubica and Alonso.

    For a ridiculous outside bet, I’ll go for Sebastian Vettel. Granted, he’s not quite up there with the Red Bull team, but Vettel has done well at the slippery street tracks this year. (If you count Canada as a street circuit)

  12. we be nice to vote on the matter :)

  13. I’d also like to vote on which is the “real” Jack?
    cue spooky music…

  14. ajokay said on 21st August 2008, 22:21

    I’m sure Heikki’s still riding high after his maiden win, maybe he’ll be uber-hungry for more.

    I would love BMW to spring another surprise though

  15. Wesley said on 21st August 2008, 22:24

    I agree Keith,I think Kubica will do well at Valencia.I also think that Hamilton will do well there too.Both of them like street circuits.From there I couldn’t begin to predict the rest of the field,it is anyone’s race.

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