Robert Kubica joins Renault for 2010 as doubts grow over Qadbak-Sauber entry

Robert Kubica tested for Renault in 2005 before signing for BMW

Robert Kubica tested for Renault in 2005 before signing for BMW

Robert Kubica has been confirmed as the replacement for Fernando Alonso at Renault for 2010.

The Polish driver is returning to the company that played a crucial role in his arrival in F1. He won the World Series by Renault championship in 2005.

Kubica always seemed likely to leave BMW after it emerged that he only learned of their plans to leave F1 next year when he read about it online. Now there are fresh doubts over the future of the team and questions are being asked about the kind of company

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who had dealings with Qadbak representative Russell King a few years ago, said: “I started being concerned for Sauber when I heard his name.”

Another obstacle to the ex-BMW team remaining in Formula 1 is lack of support for a 14th team, especially from – who else? – Williams.

Under the circumstances, it would probably be wise for Nick Heidfeld to find a berth elsewhere if he can.

Signing a high-profile driver like Kubice is a sign of Renault’s reaffirmed commitment to F1 in the wake of the Singapore crash scandal.

It’s a significant change for both parties. Kubica is breaking the bond with the team that brought him into F1, though more out of necessity than choice. Renault embraces a future without the Briatore-Symonds-Alonso team that won two world championships.

Kubica’s team mate has yet to be announced. Romain Grosjean has not impressed in his first five races for the team, but it’s important to stress his lack of experience and the limited amount of testing available to him.

He probably has a good chance of keeping his place next year, but with the driver market in a state of turmoil Renault may spy an opportunity to snap up a big name at a low price.

What do you think of Kubica’s move to Renault? Who should partner him next year? And what will be the next big announcement on the driver market? Have your say in the comments.

See the updated list of 2010 F1 drivers and teams

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128 comments on Robert Kubica joins Renault for 2010 as doubts grow over Qadbak-Sauber entry

  1. Polak said on 8th October 2009, 0:41

    Kubica signing with Renault really makes the company seem more stable. He has openly confessed that his next move will be to a tam that is not going to quit on him any time soon. I’m glad he is out of BMW. That team really let him down, and they are paying the price for it now. You always go for the win because you might never get that chance again. They passed it up and are now tucking tale with a great career of one pole and one race win. Bye bye BMW and hopefully a bright future for Kubica.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys said on 8th October 2009, 0:49

    I think that if QABAK talked with FOTA, told them a little about themselves and what they were intending to do, then FOTA migt be a litle more amenable to letting them in.

  3. Dennis said on 8th October 2009, 0:51

    First of all Kubica is the real deal. He’s a very talented driver and deserves a team that sticks with him untill the end of the season rather than “focussing on next year” whilst Kubica has a chance to become champion. Second I really think Kubica and Heidfeld make a wonderfull team. Kubica is the fast one of the 2, qualifies better (that’s what Nick should improve on IMO) and just has a higher pace overall. But if you give Heidfeld a decent car he’s going to bring it home 99/100 times. What I also like about him is the way he races. He’s not afraid to take a tactical gamble every once in a while. He’s always “that guy you hardly see in the race, but who does score points”. Webber has a bit of that as well and Kubica needs someone like that next to him. Gives him more freedom to try and push as hard as he can, the team will score anyway.

    Other choices than Heidfeld:
    Raikkonen: I think it’s very unlikely he will get in that car. The’re not competative enough. He’s probably going to McClaren or RBR if indeed he does stay in F1.

    Grosjean: Too early to judge the kid. He only did a few races and I don’t think he did that bad overall. He deserves a chance but it might be too early for him. Perhaps a year as third driver? It’s a big risk to sign him opposed to signing an experienced driver like Heidfeld.

    Trulli: Not a big fan of him. Didn’t do well with Renaul earlier, don’t see why he’s going to do better now.

    Rosberg: Possible, he seems very consistent and very fast and talented. But if he can get a deal with Brawn or McClaren he’s probably going there. I do think Rosberg needs to be tested now. He’s been doing great at Williams, now let’s see how he does when facing a true challenge in his team mate. Kubica provides an excellent challenge but so does Hamilton.

    So I’d pick Rosberg or Heidfeld.

  4. mitchibob said on 8th October 2009, 1:08

    How about Rubens? Might ensure Kubica gets a good hurry up during the season! ;-)

  5. Alex 3 said on 8th October 2009, 1:18

    The discussion about the 14th team being on the grid being opposed by Williams is to me another clear indication the Frank Williams is afraid of more competition, does not want to share revenue on a thinner basis and just doesn’t get the fact that F1 is not about him.
    I for one would kick him out of FOTA for good. He got a reasonable reprive and then crapped on FOTA again and was unreasonable about the Ferrari situation.
    He needs to also remember that what goes around comes around.

    • Hakka said on 8th October 2009, 4:36

      clear indication the Frank Williams is afraid of more competition, does not want to share revenue on a thinner basis

      So he’s being rational? F1 is not a charity you know.

  6. Rabi said on 8th October 2009, 1:29

    I think Rosberg is a done deal to Brawn, Rubens to Williams. Kimi to McLaren which leaves Trulli, Glock, Kovaleinen and Heidfeld all available.

    Either Glock or Kovaleinen would be good and have Grosjean test for a year and make a comeback in 2011.

  7. Harv's said on 8th October 2009, 1:54

    Kovy should go back to renault, try rebuild his reputation!

    also it will leave renault with a really strong line up, with both drivers having strong renault ties, also probably the third strongest line up bechind McLaren and Ferrari

  8. Ben Ell said on 8th October 2009, 2:07

    “The team formerly known as BMW” (TTFKAB) not appearing on the grid is a result of BMW, not Williams. BMW have scuppered any chance of TTFKAB being on the grid, its their fault. Not Williams.
    TTFKAB would have been on the grid no problems and we wouldn’t be having this discussion had BMW signed the Concorde. But they didn’t, and they lost their entry as a result. No entry = no entry. BMW’s fault, not Williams.

    No one took away TTFKAB’s entry, they cancelled it.

    Lets make a hypothetical. If Toyota announced tomorrow they were pulling out of F1 and handed back their entry, that entry would be given to TTFKAB. In two months time, what if Toyota decided actually no, they would like to enter afterall. No, bugger off, you decided not to enter next season, you lost your opportunity, you have made your bed. Too bad. Its not everyone else’s job to fix other people’s mistakes/bad decisions. BMW are solely responsible for the situation that TTFKAB are now in.

    Why should there be any special cases? There shouldn’t. BMW decided not to keep an entry for TTFKAB, TTFKAB have no entry. Simple. No special cases, everyone plays by the same rules.

    Everyone cries foul whenever a particular team is seemingly given special treatment, now everyone is crying foul because a team didn’t get their entry in on time and want special treatment.

    Direct your anger at BMW, not the other people who don’t want to have to fix BMW’s bad decisions.

    Why should we allow one team (TTFKAB) to gain an extra entry and not another (Stefan, Prodrive etc)? Neither have entries, neither should be allowed.

    *An analagy – Entry into F1 is like catching a plane. Everyone knows when you need to check in by, don’t think you can wander up 10 minutes after check in closes and still get on. You can shout and cry all you want, but you’re not getting on that plane. Everyone knows the rules, you’re not special. If you haven’t checked in, too bad, your fault.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 8th October 2009, 8:57

      Good stuff, Ben Ell.

    • Alex Bkk said on 8th October 2009, 12:27

      1. “Why should we allow one team (TTFKAB) to gain an extra entry and not another (Stefan, Prodrive etc)? Neither have entries, neither should be allowed.”

      It’s a logical point in logical a sport that defies logic.

      1. Well…the afore mentioned teams have no history in F1. Do you lose a BMW that was modestly contending for a WC a year ago?

      2.BMW made my Mini S Type. Red with white stripes :-D

      3. You sound a bit angry…and stiff shirted in your post . Can I buy you a pint?

  9. Jamborello said on 8th October 2009, 2:15

    What I’m really curious about is who will drive for Toyota? They clearly feel they can do better than Trulli and Glock, but who is available that fits that description?

    If the options are Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Grosjean or a newbie it doesn’t seem like much of an improvement.

    What odds on Nakajima and Kobayashi to keep the management happy?

    • Victor said on 8th October 2009, 3:30

      No offense, but I think what management wants to see are Race Wins, and Nakajima has clearly proven that he is utterly incapable of that. As for Kobayashi, I wouldn’t know, but Toyota really needs a Driver with either a proven winning record, or a potential for doing so. Imagine Rosberg and Heidfeld. It would be very solid indeed, although knowing Toyota, it wouldn’t guarantee wins, so Rosberg should stick to Macca or Brawn.

  10. wasiF1 said on 8th October 2009, 2:29

    Kubica needs a good ride & Renault needs a good driver so I guess its a good move.Instead of waiting for Qadbak-Sauber Nick should look for other team.

    Romain should partner him as he did a relatively good job this season & if he does some more testing next season then he will become a mature driver for next season.

    the next big announcement on the driver market will be ICEMAN.Mclaren or Brawn.Both places he will enjoy the best technical support.I don’t think he will move to Red Bull or even Renault.

    so lets wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I wonder if Force India will be in the market for a driver as well. With some very encouraging performances (and considering the car may stay much the same), they may have to take this opportunity to replace Sutil.

    I have never been impressed by him and although FI is a small team still, having Sutil as No. 1 is not at all convincing. Liuzzi has some racing instinct at least. Any views on Sutil and Force India?

  12. Gill said on 8th October 2009, 4:33

    MY Predictions for next year’s line up.

    Brawn:
    1. Button
    2. Rosberg

    RBR :
    3. Vettel
    4. Webber(no Kimi)

    Ferrari:
    5. Massa
    6. Alonso

    Mclaren :
    7. Hamilton
    8. Kimi (for sure)

    Williams :
    9. Barrichelo
    10. HUlkenberg

    Toyota :
    11. Heidfield
    12. Kovalenen

    Renault :

    14. Kubica
    15. Grosjean

    Force India:

    16. Sutil
    17. Liuzzi

    STR Ferrari :

    18. Buemi
    19. Jaime

    Campos :
    20. Pedro de la rosa
    21. Trulli

    Lotus:
    22. Narain Karthikeyan(I met him at Singapore GP and he told he is racing in 2010)
    23. Nakazima

    Manor :
    24 : Adam Carroll (A1GP champ)
    25. Glock

    US F1 :

    • GeeMac said on 8th October 2009, 7:51

      My only change:

      McLaren:
      5. Hamilton
      6. Kimi

      Ferrari:
      7. Massa
      8. Alonso

      McLaren should beat Ferrari to 3rd in the constructors champs, Fisi just isn’t quick enough at the moment. But isn’t exactly on fire right now Kovi I guess…

      I don’t know about Nakajima going to Lotus. Wouldn’t the Malaysian owners put their weight behind Alex Yoong?

    • James_mc said on 8th October 2009, 9:55

      An affront to the name “Lotus”… Karthikayen was guff. Nakajima would be lead driver but only on the (lack of) strength of Karthikayen

  13. mp4-19b said on 8th October 2009, 4:54

    Narain Karthikeyan?? Who?

    • Toby Bushby said on 8th October 2009, 5:05

      Jordan 2005 (the year after your namesake), Williams tester 2006/07. Isn’t he driving the Indian A1GP entry currently? Interesting prediction, Gill. Always good to have your own sources!

      • mp4-19b said on 8th October 2009, 5:20

        I know who he is. But the question is, is he any good? And why would a Malaysian team want an Indian driver? They would rather go for Alex Yoong.

      • Gill said on 8th October 2009, 5:51

        I met him in a food mall in singapore. He said he is racing though I know he isnt good but so is Grosjean and so was PIquet.
        He might be bringing some sponserships.

      • seskuj said on 8th October 2009, 16:20

        as a malaysian…i dont think nakajima and narain will be in lotus next year….lotus looking for a experience driver and i believe both narain and nakajima is just apiece of crap…alex yoong already said that he never ever back to f1 if he get a crap car. i believe lotus driver for next season will be fairuz fauzy and heidfeld/fisichella…

  14. Toby Bushby said on 8th October 2009, 4:59

    Heidfeld.

  15. Gill said on 8th October 2009, 5:55

    Manor arent using wind mill to develop their car aero. They are using a computer software which deals in fluid dynamics. Crazy fellows

    • mp4-19b said on 8th October 2009, 6:07

      Manor arent using wind mill to develop their car aero

      Of course nobody uses windmill!! They use wind tunnels instead :)

      They are using a computer software which deals in fluid dynamics

      Everyone uses CFD softwares for simulation purposes. What is wrong with that?

      • just me said on 8th October 2009, 7:54

        Everyone uses CFD softwares for simulation purposes. What is wrong with that?

        There’s nothing wrong with that besides that little missing thing commonly known as “reality check”.

        If Wirth can really pull a competitive F1 rabbit out of the CFD-hat, the other 12 teams will stand dumbfounded: “gee, why didn’t we think of this cost-saving idea: abandon comparison of computer simulations with reality altogether”.

        Thinking of it: why not run F1 races just in simulators? They are sooo real nowadays that the TV audience would hardly notice ;-).

        PS: I am a computational physicist by profession…

        • If the CFD-only approach works then great, but not even using a wind tunnel testing to confirm the CFD results seems like an awful risk.

          But then I seem to recall the Wirth-era Benettons had some very complicated bits that promised much but delivered little – innovation at the expense of good fundamentals. Perhaps the latest Wirth F1 venture will be the same.

        • Alex Bkk said on 8th October 2009, 12:35

          “PS: I am a computational physicist by profession…”

          Sorry to hear about your handicap:-P

          Cheers, Alex

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