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Championship contenders: Robert Kubica - Can the Polish driver take the 2008 F1 title?

Published by Mr. C

BMW have been on the radar all season, but only as a support act, there to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong at the front. Kubica collected his and the team’s first win at Canada this year, and even though it was an important moment, it didn't mark a defining improvement for them. In fact, BMWs fortunes dropped slightly after that impressive 1-2.

Robert Kubica

Nevertheless, and much to Bernie’s dismay, consistency keeps you near the top, and with only two races left, Kubica is still in contention for the driver’s title. If you had to choose between Kubica or Räikkönen making it to the final battle, wouldn’t you have picked the defending champion?

There’s an argument to say that Kubica doesn’t necessarily deserve this year’s title. He certainly hasn’t scrapped as hard as the top two, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing? Whenever there is any faltering at the top, Kubica is there to maximise on the opportunity. Keeping your nose clean is more than half the battle, especially this season. Not only that, but compared to some of the performances Heidfeld has put in this year, it’s clear Kub is getting more out of his car.

Perhaps the secret to his championship potential is the silent but deadly variety. To me, he has never really stood out with an outstanding performance, but at the same time, when has he ever done anything wrong? Aside from a slight slip up at Silverstone, I honestly can’t recall another single mistake by the man, and the most controversy he has inspired this year is whether those “Pole on pole” headlines should ever have been allowed.

The one thing Kubica has against him is the team are resigned to being third. They know that McLaren and Ferrari have the extra pace to keep them at the top, and their only goal was the solitary win this year. Having achieved that, they were already looking to 2009, whilst Kubica stood at the back of the garage shouting: “Hey, guys, you know, we could still win this!” Of course the odds were against them, but to be the only guy believing you still have a fighting chance must be quite draining in a team as clinical as BMW.

When their objectives are aligned, the team are a force to be reckoned with, but when the bosses turn on you, as Heidfeld learnt earlier in the season, you’ve got to stand your ground and prove your worth. BMW finally figured out this week that Robert had been right all along, and he now has the full backing of Theissen and his boys for the remainder of the season. The big question is, have they left it too late?

Picking up 12 points in the last two races is entirely possible for the Pole, but the added problem comes from requiring the other contenders to fail. In fact, to remain in contention post-China, he really needs to finish at least two places ahead of Lewis. Of course, we saw last year that you can never say never in this business.