While three and one-third seasons have seen Kubica win but a single race, he is definitely a man to watch. For he drove a BMW Sauber in each of the 57 races he competed in, a car ever inching its way upward to, but never quite achieving competitiveness. Until BMW decided to do what’s in vogue for car manufacturers these days and quit Formula One in July.
But even in perennially underperforming cars, you could see the speed, talent and naked aggression of Robert Kubica, the only Pole ever to compete in Formula One. There is always the lingering sense that were his fortunes ever to place him in truly competitive machinery, he would go through the field the way two giant mechanized armies went through his homeland sixty years ago.
The team he’s signed with for 2010 has definitely seen better days. Gone are the 2005 and 2006 seasons, when a young Fernando Alonso led Renault to twin world titles against Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen. Since 2007, we’ve seen increasingly worse Renaults: this year, even the very talented Alonso couldn’t manage better than a lone podium in Singapore. To say nothing of management’s fall from grace after details of a fixed 2008 race came to light.
Whatever happens, Kubica has remained in the sport. With constantly churning regulations and an almost complete ban on testing, a wild card of a car may just turn up from unexpected places. Should that car surround in carbon fiber the tall Pole with the hawk nose, God help everyone.
Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images), SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images, KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images, GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images