Robert Kubica interview:
Q. Welcome back, Robert. A second season working with Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN as a reserve driver, how has your position evolved since you joined the team?
A. I’m happy to be back for a second season in Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN as a reserve driver. As a driver, you always would like to race, but for this year my position in the team remains the same as last year. Of course, the collaboration is getting stronger and stronger as time goes by; last year I joined the team and now I know everyone much better, which is going to help the work we do. 2020 was a difficult year because of COVID-19, but we stuck together as a team, we worked together and definitely, we hope this season is going to be a better one for us.
Q. You were in the car several times last year, alongside your work in the simulator. What can we expect in 2021?
A. My role within the team is quite clear and reflects what I did last year when you could see me driving during some FP1 sessions last year and also in pre-season testing in Barcelona. Of course, as a team, we have started working on our simulator, a technology that is becoming more and more relevant in our sport: it is still a relatively new tool for the team, so right now we are improving it with the aim to turn it into a very powerful technical tool for development. What happens trackside is also really important for me, and hopefully you can expect to see me back in the car soon, even though this year’s winter testing reductions have limited the number of days available to the team. Personally, being in the new car is very important to try the feel of the new car, in order to help with the correlation work for the sim.
Q. You have already raced this year, in the Daytona 24H. How do these experiences in other series help you in your role?
A. They are really useful. As of 2020, I will be racing in another series alongside my commitment with Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. Whereas I raced in DTM last year, this season I will have a full ELMS campaign: it’s quite a different type of races and a different approach because they are endurance races, but as a driver, you want to race, you want to feel the adrenaline. In Formula One, my position is very clear, but I didn’t want to stick to just one discipline: in the end, racing is my life. Actively competing also helps me keep sharp and at the best of my abilities, which in turns is beneficial for the work I do with Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. Certainly, running two campaigns in COVID times is not easy, both for the logistics and for the compressed calendars: hopefully this year we will have a smoother season compared to the last one, but in any case, it will be an interesting challenge to be competitive in everything I do. No matter what, my priority is always to give my best, whatever I am doing.
Q. Even though you didn’t race in 2020, you retained a cult following among the fans. What does it mean to have so much support?
A. For sure, the fans were what we missed the most about last year, not only in Formula 1 but generally in motorsports. Fans play such an important role and I have to say that Formula 1 is not the same without them on the grandstands. Hopefully, we can welcome them back sooner rather than later. On a personal side, it’s always nice to see Polish flags in the stands – I even saw some when there were no spectators. I don’t know how Polish fans manage to do so, but obviously, it’s something very nice and it really makes me feel their support. I really appreciate that.
Q. Of course, this year’s team launch is in Poland – a first for your country. What does it mean to you?
A. It means a lot and I am really looking forward to this day. Since I became the first Polish Formula One driver, the sport has grown a lot there and this makes me proud. There has always been a lot of passion for motorsport in general in Poland, and of course, ORLEN is doing a great job to promote the sport. Having the first-ever team launch in the country is really special, I am sure it will be a great boost not only for the fans but for the country as a whole. I am proud of representing my country and to work with ORLEN to promote Poland in the world, and I am sure the launch will be a spectacular show.