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

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. “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.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      8th October 2009, 8:57

      Good stuff, Ben Ell.

    2. 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?

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

  5. 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 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?

  7. MY Predictions for next year’s line up.

    1. Button
    2. Rosberg

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

    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

    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 :

    1. My only change:

      5. Hamilton
      6. Kimi

      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?

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

  8. Narain Karthikeyan?? Who?

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. Alex is involved in the management of this team and moreover he is merely a commentator now

      2. 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.

        1. Yoong is a pretty good commentator…he shouldn’t quit his day job;)

      3. 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…

  9. Heidfeld.

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

    1. 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?

      1. 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…

        1. 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.

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

          Sorry to hear about your handicap:-P

          Cheers, Alex

  11. correction – Wind tunnels…
    MP4 – the keyword here is “only”.
    THey are using CFD only. NO WIND TUNNELS(mills) :)

    1. Check out for an interesting look inside USF1’s facility in Charlotte.

      They are are working like crazy on the new car, and there are a few over the shoulder shots of people working on the design of the car. It catually doesn’t look too bad!

      1. Check out Joe Saward’s Grand Prix Blog. Yes! Even I’m impressed with their facilities. But I’m not entirely not confident about the 3-d modeling software they are using. Sadly they seem to be using NX, which is way inferior compared to Catia.
        As for CFD, its good that they are using fluent. Its the market leader in that area. They’ll do fine if they ditch NX for Catia. I’m telling this out of personal experience.

  12. I’m with everyone else hoping for Heidfeld to join his long time team mate at Renault. They make up one of the best driver pairings in the whole of F1, and both deserve a good seat. Kubica gets most of the headlines, but Quick Nick is just as good, if not better, if Renault really wants a strong driver line up they can depend on, he is the perfect choice. They can pick up the pieces BMW so rudely left behind and once again take the fight to Ferrari and McLaren! :)

    I hope!

  13. Prisoner Monkeys
    8th October 2009, 6:53

    Interesting idea as to who Kubica’s team-mate could be: Vitaly Petrov.

    I know I’ve tipped Petrov for the Campos drive given his connections to the team in GP2, but his backer is said to be MegaFon an Campos are believed to be working with Telefonicia as title sponsor. I can’t imagine either MegaFon or Telefonicia being too thrilled about the prospect of working together.

    Renault are looking to reinvent themselves, and recently they’ve been in both Poland and Russia. If MegaFon is indeed Petrov’s backer – it’s a little hazy as to who is sponsoring him, but the money in Russia is in telecoms and oil oligarchs – then they may be willing to offer title sponsorship if Renault take Petrov. And it’s not as if Petrov is lacking in talent; he was Grosjean’s team mate at Barwa Addax, but out-performed him for most of the season. He’s quick, with only seven finishes outside the points and four of them were retirements (and if you saw the start at Algarve, he was ideally-placed until Michael Herck came along).

    Better yet, both Petrov and Kubica are from Eastern Europe. And as we’ve seen there’s a certain degree of camaderie between drivers from the same area: Barrichello and Massa get along great, the German drivers all seem reasonably tight, and I haven’t heard anything to suggest Button and Hamilton are at loggerheads. If Petrov – or even Aleshin, who drove for the Renault Roadshow in Moscow and did pretty well in Formula Two – was teamed up with Kubica, I think they’d get along fairly well.

    1. Better yet, both Petrov and Kubica are from Eastern Europe. And as we’ve seen there’s a certain degree of camaderie between drivers from the same area

      Yeah, but one is POLISH, the other is RUSSIAN… Historically the two countries haven’t really got on (undersatement). If they did work well together I doubt it would be because of geography.

  14. My ideal partner for Kubica at Renault would be Kovalainen. That way the likable and solid Kovi would stay in F1, the unimpressive Grosjean would be out of F1 and the path would be clear for a Lewis Kimi line-up at McLaren.

    But that’s probably not going to happen. So I reckon Kovi will stay at McLaren, Grosjean will partner Kubica and Kimi to spend a year in Finland drinking and riding snowmobiles.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      8th October 2009, 8:48

      Kovalainen is a backmarker in a lead car. Given his unimpressive run of results,I wholly expect McLaren to send him off with not much more than a da svidaniya.

      1. i agree Kovvie is not impressing much at the moment – but i have a sneaking sensation that GeeMac is right and that things are more likely going to stay the same than change. Something to do with budgets and driver costs maybe?

        1. I think the only thing that is certain is that a Fin will be in the second McLaren. Kovi, Kimi or Rosberg (even though he pretends to be German ;-)).

  15. U forgot mentioning about Icecreams(remeber malaysia). THe race was still active and KIMI was sucking onto ice candy inside the garrage. It was awesome. :)

    1. I would ve done the same though. I mean, what was the point in staying in the car, getting soaked for a very small chance of getting a new start from the back of the grid (he was 9th or 10th) in a dangerous slippery and dark circuit. Might as well get dry and have a good ol popstickle.

      1. “point in staying”–> THen wats the point in driving a JOrdan or a Minardi or a STR ferrari. Dear Tarzan, drivers are paid to drive and to take advantage of any help which comes there way in the form of rain, safety car etc. May be he was not in the front but he should atleats be wearing his thermal suit like otgher drivers.
        Its way to unprofessional and I doubt this is why he got kicked out of the ferrari.

    2. Kimi’s race was over due to a technical failure. They couldn’t repair the car, so he wouldn’t have started even if the race had restarted.

      1. Could u please tell me wat was the technicla failure. The only glitch I noticed with ferrari was that they sent KIMI on wets when the track was dry. I dint notice anything other than that

        1. Water in the KERS.

          You didn’t notice the car was put in the garage?

  16. it seems everybody have unique idea.
    how about
    Raikkonnen : RedBull(a really fast car) (with Vettel.. a really fastboy)
    Webber : McLaren (with Hamilton) British&Australian..make a perfect queendom
    Brawn : Rosberg(when are they gonna announce it?) + Button(will he take the paycut again?)
    Williams : Barrichello? Hulkenberg? Glock?
    Renault: Kubica+Romain?+Glock?+Trulli?
    Toyota: ? + ?
    Ferrari : Massa+Alonso
    too many puzzles to be filled

    1. Trulli to Renault – Never gonna happen

      1. Briatore is not there anymore.
        just a pure prediction anyway.

        Toyota is dumping Trulli and Glock
        Glock might get a seat at deutsch-ed Team,
        whereas Trulli have to wait for
        other puzzles to be filled.
        instead of getting into new-unknown car,
        Trulli would be a better choice than
        Briatore-backed Grosjean at Renault too.

        Brawn’s pace is deteriorating.. really
        are they gonna comeup with another loophole?

    2. If I were Button I’d clear off immediately after winning the championship, I doubt Brawn will be anything above midfield next year. How about Renault? ;)

      1. That’s what I’d do…but then again there is the Ross thingy… How does on explain it?

        1. one explain it?*

          1. if.. Button becomes champion
            if.. Button won’t take the paycut
            if.. Button feels Brawn would to too slow nextyear

            and assuming other teams won’t consider an outpaced Champion…

            Hamilton and Button at McLaren would make Keith very happy

  17. After what happened, Renault should have only one name on their mind in case they want to demote Grosjean, and that is Sebastien Bourdais.

    for possibly obvious reasons, Briatore never placed a french driver in a Renault, something all french people would like to see happen. so Bourdais for Renault, and i have a good feeling that he will get on well with Kubica, and the whole team and do well overall.

    1. Could u please define “well” ? Which position they would be in next year ?

  18. Aww not Bourdais again:P He didn’t do too badly back in 08, but this year really wasn’t up to scratch. I also think the idea of a french driver in a french team is a bit limiting, it’s great and a bonus if the french driver is one of the best (Loeb in Citroen for rallying) but if it isn’t and it is just PR then it is pointless and will just cost results in the long run.

  19. A French driver with a French team and a French sponsor…Ligier?

    1. Or worse… ProstF1

      1. Or worse still… TodtF1

  20. Robert Kubica has reportedly inked only a one-year contract with Renault so that he is available should Ferrari be back on the driver market for 2011.

    Oh also for anyone interested Massa will wave chequered flag at Brazil apparantly.

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