Robert Kubica will drive for Renault for the next two seasons, it was announced today. The Pole has been outstanding at the wheel of the Renault this season, challenging for the win in Monaco and regularly outperforming the car.
“It was a straightforward decision for me to continue with a team where I feel at home,” said Kubica. “What’s important for me is to be in the right atmosphere, with a good group of people, where everybody is pulling in the same direction. This is what we have tried to build from the beginning of my time with Renault.
“I think we have already achieved a lot together, and I believe that with plenty of effort, time and the right approach, we can move even further forward. That is certainly our target, so we will keep working hard and pushing on every front, not just for the rest of this season but also for next year when there are more big rule changes on the way. I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
Kubica was open to offers from Ferrari earlier this season, expecting some possible movement in the position of Felipe Massa, but when Ferrari decided to give the Brazilian another two years, Kubica’s options shortened.
It is interesting that he has linked the term of his contract to that of Massa, although paddock speculation is that Massa is actually on a one plus one deal, with the option on Ferrari’s side for the second year. But Ferrari announced it as two to keep the press off his back and keep the pressure off in 2011.
For Renault, holding on to Kubica is an important step. New team owner Gerard Lopez has said he wants to build the team around the Pole, in much the same way as Ferrari built the team around Michael Schumacher in the late 1990s and early 2000s
“We have a three year plan, all budgeted,” Lopez told me last month. “In 2010 we get to the finish, in 2011 we will be more aggressive, we will aim to win. In 2012 we go for the championship. Kubica is a crucial part of the plan.
“He’s a racer, he lives for racing not politics, ” he added. “Robert has a unique opportunity to build a team around him. Few drivers have the talent that he has to do it and few teams would do it with someone.
“Our objective is to ensure that he contributes as much as possible. In his previous team (BMW) one of the big issues with Robert was that he couldn’t communicate as he wanted because he feared the backlash. Here he is being motivated and pushed to speak as much as he can. It’s a good fit. I’ve never seen him smile as much as he does now.”