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. Gill said on 8th October 2009, 6:24

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

    • GeeMac said on 8th October 2009, 10:42

      Check out f1.com 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!

      • mp4-19b said on 8th October 2009, 14:10

        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.

  2. Adam Tate said on 8th October 2009, 6:46

    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!

  3. Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

    • Random Chimp said on 8th October 2009, 11:19

      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.

  4. GeeMac said on 8th October 2009, 7:31

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

      • 000o0 said on 8th October 2009, 9:33

        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?

        • GeeMac said on 8th October 2009, 10:28

          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 ;-)).

  5. Gill said on 8th October 2009, 7:38

    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. :)

    • Tarzan said on 8th October 2009, 9:05

      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.

      • “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.

    • Patrickl said on 8th October 2009, 10:04

      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.

      • 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

  6. canteen said on 8th October 2009, 10:31

    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

    • Trulli to Renault – Never gonna happen

      • canteen said on 9th October 2009, 4:23

        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?

    • Random Chimp said on 8th October 2009, 11:23

      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? ;)

      • Alex Bkk said on 8th October 2009, 12:42

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

        • Alex Bkk said on 8th October 2009, 12:43

          one explain it?*

          • canteen said on 9th October 2009, 4:35

            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

  7. Ronman said on 8th October 2009, 11:13

    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.

  8. steph90 said on 8th October 2009, 12:39

    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.

  9. Alex Bkk said on 8th October 2009, 12:47

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

  10. steph90 said on 8th October 2009, 14:27

    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.

  11. Dr Jones said on 8th October 2009, 15:04

    Sorry, i’m a bit confused. Is Renault banned next year? So why did Kubica joined that team? Aiming only for driver’s points? :(

  12. The Limit said on 8th October 2009, 16:06

    This has worked out reasonably well for Robert Kubica. With the BMW Sauber team drawing its last breathe, and the prospects of a new team arising from the ashes in doubt, Kubica had no choice but to jump ship.
    As mentioned by Keith, it is also good to see Renault investing in their team’s future by signing the Polish driver up. Kubica is alot better than his F1 results suggest, and Renault along with other teams would be aware of this.
    In many ways, I believe this is a stepping stone for Kubica. No doubt, his friendship with Fernando Alonso has carried alot of weight, and its not impossible to imagine Fernando playing a significent role in selecting a driver to replace him at Renault.
    In years to come, and if the Renault/Kubica relationship bears fruit, he may follow Alonso to Maranello. This, ofcourse, depends on his performances and that of Renault.
    The terrible end of season form in 2008 really undid the promise Kubica had shown leading up to his victory in Canada. Its not hard to imagine the atmosphere at BMW Sauber a year ago, and this season, as the team has floundered and eventually imploded.
    As for Nick Heidfeld, I fear he is witnessing the end of his F1 career. One small crumb of hope, is that Button and Barrichello were in this position at Christmas, and now they are championship contenders. But realistically, his best chance is with one of the new teams.

  13. Cyclops said on 8th October 2009, 18:06

    So it’s done, Robert is with Renault, everybody expected that and I think all will agree that it WAS his best option at the moment. For Renault, as well.

    A for Heidfeld, I think teaming up with Kubica at Renault wouldn’t be a dream-come-true for any of them. They didn’t work well together in BMW. To be frank, they worked against each other, trying to claim the number 1 position in the team, despite the the fact the dr Mario insisted on equality. Some may argue that Kubica deserved the no 1 spot, at least when he was leading the drivers standing, but it is all a “what if” story. Heidfeld however deserved a racing seat, and it would a loss of one of the most consistent drivers if he didn’t get one. He is capable of fantastic defensive and offensive maneuvers, and would be an asset to every team, maybe besides the big guns like McLaren or Ferrari. I think Williams would suit him well and he should be given the number one spot there.
    Also knowing the high sporting ambitions of these two guys, I really doubt they will hook up again. It’s not a matter of hatred like Hamilton-Alonso case, but they just don’t give each other enough space.

  14. Paige Michael-Shetley said on 9th October 2009, 4:18

    It’s starting to look like Kovalainen at Renault in the other seat, according to other sources.

  15. Button and Hamilton at McLaren as Brawn will be lucky to be anything above the mdifield in 2010

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