With winter testing fast approaching, Renault F1 Team driver, Robert Kubica, made a beeline for Enstone last week to begin his preparation for the 2010 season. It may have been icy and snowy in the UK, but Robert arrived bright and early at the teamís base in Enstone to try the cockpit of his new challenger for size.
Once Robert had made himself comfortable in a mock-up of the R30, he met up with Team Principal, Eric Boullier, for a progress report and to talk about his hopes for the year ahead. He then headed off to the wind tunnel to see the latest developments being put through their paces on the rolling road. Then Robert visited the composites lab to inspect some of the carbon fibre components that will soon be fitted to the first 2010 chassis.
It was also the chance for Robert to get to know his car crew a little better as he joined his engineers for lunch in the canteen. Heíll be back at the factory at the end of the month to complete the seat fit, but before that heís keeping his driving skills sharp by competing in the Monte Carlo Rally in a Renault Clio R3.
Q&A with Robert Kubica
Robert, you visited Enstone last week. What were your first impressions?
I had been to the factory before when I tested for the team a few years ago, but it was great to return and see how much has changed. The site is bigger now and there are more facilities such as the CFD centre, which is very impressive and will play a big role in the development of our car this year. When you walk around the factory there is a great atmosphere and everybody seems motivated and up for the fight Ė just like me!
How did the seat fit go?
Weíve only done the first stage in a mock-up chassis as the first R30 isnít ready yet. So we checked the dimensions and took measurements to make sure I was comfortable in the car. There are some small changes to be made, but no major issues. Later this month Iíll go back to Enstone to try out the proper chassis and to have my seat made so that we are ready for the first test in Valencia.
How is your relationship with the team developing?
So far things are going really well and the factory has given me a warm welcome. Itís still very early days and I need to get to know everybody in the team, but at the moment things are going well. I already have a good relationship with my engineers and we talk on the phone every week as I want to know as much about the new car as possible. The only difficulty I have is being patient enough to wait for the first test as it has been a long winter out of the car. Valencia cannot come soon enough!