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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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?