Kubica on Massa’s crash and the Vettel versus Alonso debate

17 December, 2013

Robert Kubica enjoyed his season in the FIA World Rally Championship

Robert Kubica enjoyed his season in the FIA World Rally Championship

Robert Kubica, whose Formula 1 career was ended by serious injuries almost three years ago, does not think that fear led to the decline of outgoing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

Two years before Pole Kubica was horribly injured in a 2011 off-season rally crash, Brazilian Massa was almost killed at the wheel of his single seater, when a spring struck him on the helmet during a qualifying session.

Massa returned to Formula 1 but he was arguably not the same from a competitive point of view, and for 2014 has lost his Ferrari seat. He will drive in 2014 for the once-great British team, Williams.

Asked if fear after returning to speed is something that could explain Massa’s situation, Kubica told Italy’s La Repubblica: “It’s a complex subject. A driver does not simply drive. But I’m willing to bet that fear had nothing to do with Massa’s problems. And I’m sure he would confirm that too.”

Felipe Massa with Robert Kubica in 2010

Felipe Massa with Robert Kubica in 2010

“When you get in the car you are so concentrated that there is no room for fear. There are much bigger factors that can affect performance.”

Asked what those factors might be, Kubica answered: “The bad luck to have a cannibal as a teammate.”

Indeed, Kubica was particularly close to his friend Fernando Alonso, who utterly dominated at Maranello ever since he joined Massa in the garage.

And Kubica, who won the second-tier of the World Rally Championship in 2013 and is now moving into the premier category with Ford, seems to still be among those who think that Alonso is better than Sebastian Vettel.

Robert Kubica with Fernando Alonso in 2010

Robert Kubica with Fernando Alonso in 2010

“As a driver I shouldn’t answer this question,” the 29-year-old responded. ”I think Vettel is in a state of grace. When you have a team and a situation that is so competitive, then it gives you an unbelievable confidence.”

“Any driver in the top ten of Formula 1, in that situation, would be invincible,” added Kubica.

“In contrast, in the situation like Alonso where you are always pushing so hard to win, it’s a constant struggle, and the same goes for the team, always trying extraordinary things, because the ordinary is not enough.

“Put it this way – Vettel is in a tunnel leading straight to victory, while Alonso is in a maze where you are trying to find the way at every turn,” he said. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.


  • StevetheGreat

    Shouldn’t he be focusing on how not to crash a rally car? His navigator has already run out of clean undies!

    I used to like Kubica, i really did. Now he needs to be like Heidfeld and just go away.

  • wdirfhi

    SteveTheMoron is yep you guessed it, a moron.

  • O’Ferrari

    He sure is! World class moron. Probably impotent, too.

    Robert answered the question of alonso vs vettel tactfully and resoectfully.

    He gave no real definitive answer, only commentary that provides food for thought.

  • Huff huff puff

    Although Kubica has only achieved very little in F1, I think he is still able to single handedly picked the better driver between Alonso and Vettel and comment on many things F1 related.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @Huff huff puff Yeah just being in the running for the WDC with BMW. But I guess your memory doesn’t go back that far…

  • Lol

    “My best friend is clearly better than the guy we both hate”.

    Very trustworthy opinion.

  • Tamburello_1994

    I liked Robert. Too bad he and to an extent Massa got cheated out of good careers.

    Where would Kimi be if Kubica never got hurt?

  • captain tortuga

    I think Kubica said it quite right.

    i’m not a fan of either btw, nor Alonso or Vettel make me cheer, but i do feel that in the situation that Vettel is, everyone ( i used to say the top-12 of F1) is able to do what he did.

    I feel “but Webber drove the same car” is not a valid argument, because most of the time it was not exactly the same. plus that the support is not the same. (same story at Ferrari or Lotus and many other team for that matter)

    Credits should be where credits are due, and it is without doubt that Vettel belongs to the best drivers, but it must also be said that the majority of his achievements is due to 600 very qualified people working relentlessly and having an effectively unlimited budget, and for that reason it is more than plausible that a Kimi/Alonso/Lewis/Nico&Nico and some others could have reached the same in the same situation. Even a Webber could have done way better if he was given the same treatment as Vettel.

    and it must be said, that especially this year, racing a RB is comparable to racing Forza-motorsport (or Grand Turismo if you play the PS :D) with the competition on level turtle.
    So even though it is fair to say that RB deserves the title for building a way faster car, it also can not have been that hard for Seb, being in a car that is so much faster than the others.

  • Jules

    Kubica is right. Just that some of the Vettel fanboyz are in denial coz their driver isn’t as good as Alonso.

    Vettel won because he had the best car and the best engineers at RB. Webber, on the other hand, drives a similar looking car but with second hand parts…so it is not fair to compare.

    Alonso, if given the similarly good car as Vettel, would out race Vettel anytime over a full race. I mean, has vettel even raced at all this past 2 -3 seasons? He just drives off from the front row..That isn’t racing. No real racing skills involved. Any top 10 F1 driver could do that.

  • bobw

    captain tortuga et. al. – Your theory (more like conspiracy) that Webber didn’t have the same car is absolute BS and you know it. Also the argument that anybody can be a four time WDC because of the car is BS as well and goes a long way toward showing your ignorance. Jules- Webber did not drive a car with second hand parts. What makes you think that RBR would deliberately sabotage their standings in the Constructors points? As for Vettel’s racing skills, I think the 2012 WDC race in Brazil demonstrated that he has mad skills. His ability to get the performance he does out of his car is also a testament to his skills. I think if people what to support their favorite driver, they should do so with facts and data and not grade school conjecture.

  • the fan

    vettel fanboys just react violently everytime someone puts their hero in the same league or under alonso… people just cant handle the truth.

  • James

    Robert Kubica named FIA’s Personality of the Year
    .He is the first winner of the new award which was selected by all permanently accredited media present at FIA World Championship events throughout 2013

  • Max Smoot

    Stevethe(not so)Great: Now wait just a minute with that gratuitous Heidfeld slur — if you examined his career path he was never in a competitive team until BMW-Sauber, and then had to contend with Kubica as a teammate plus BMW’s reluctance to continue development. His current role at Rebellion Racing sees him doing exceptionally well in WEC.

  • Butterfly

    Well, Robert is right on the money there.

  • ZombieF1

    Funny thing, I have not seen any driver as consistent as Vettel in the past few years.

  • StevetheGreat

    Kubica is alonso’s mate, everyone knows it just like we all know he’ll be rubbish in wrc. Lol, a blind man would crash less.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Alonso is the most overrated driver in history. It’s too bad Ferrari didn’t put Hulk alongside him, to show him up once and for all. He’ll never win another title.

  • The Pessimist

    Robert Kubica is simply playing mind games simply to boost Alonso’s confidence as Robert’s best pal now has a serious challenger in Kimi who will neither bend for anyone nor will give Alonso a tow during qualifying or move out of his way in races.

  • Krunksoft

    Some of the logic I see hear to discredit Vettel is hilarious. I’m not gonna say he’s the best ever but some of you act like these Red Bull cars could practically drive themselves to victory. Ferraris are not bad cars and neither is the Lotus or Mercedes. Why trash Vettel for getting the absolute maximum out of what all those engineers had created for he and Webber?? It’s a childish argument to say it’s all about the car. You have absolutely no facts to support that, only your biased opinions. It’s not just about the car. There must always be a combination of a good team, car, and drivers that maximize the performance of the car out on the track. What driver would want a crappy car just to prove to you haters that he’s better than YOU think he is? That’s dumb. Obviously, when a constructor wins 4 titles in a row they must be doing something right, but part of that “something right” is choosing drivers that become one with the car and get the most out of it. Red Bull got it right but Vettel had won in a race an inferior car before ever he joined the team. I don’t mind this argument but to say it’s all about the car is silly.

  • Ron Mac

    Vettel is still an unknown in a car apart from the Red Bull which seems to enjoy an advantage over the rest of the field. Sure he won a race for Toro Rosso, but Maldanardo also won one for Williams…

    Alonso has proved himself in more cars and teams than Vettel for sure, and does do extraordinary things with a pretty ordinary car.

    There really is no debate about who is best. If it was Alonso in the Red Bull and Vettel in the Ferrari for the last few years, I suspect very little would have changed. Alonso would have 4 more world titles, and Vettel would be as frustrated as Alonso is right now.

    The simple answer to who is best right now is Adrian Newey and Christian Horner. They are the kingmakers of the last few years as far as championships go.

    As for 2014, who knows at this stage. We might know more after testing, but again, I suspect we won;t really know until at least the halfway point of 2014.

  • StevetheGreat

    Are you all morons? Vettel is the best driver with the best car. Name another current driver that won with a Toro Rosso? Scored points in his first race? Win FOUR champs in a row?

    Ok alonso, kimi, hamilton are all great too, even i can see that. Why can’t you? Oh right… I forgot… You’re all just a bunch of fanboys that barely know the sport (as evidenced by your comments). :)

  • Texas Roadhouse

    The consensus in the pit lane among the team professionals is that Alonso is probably the more complete driver. That said, Vettel was voted driver of the year by the Team Principals/Managers this season.

    Vettel certainly can race, if needed – Brazil last year being an example, but when your car is demonstrably faster, why not “eff off” into the distance? Jimmy Clark used to do the same – in fact HIS finest race, even though he didn’t win it, is reckoned to be the ’67 Italian GP when he went a lap down after a puncture, then proceeded to unlap himself and re-take the lead until the last lap when he started to run out of fuel – finished third, but received a standing ovation from the fans.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    @ Steve – that Toro Rosso was a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine. Remember that was before the ban on teams using other parties designs. That Monza race was something of an anomaly too, given the weather conditions.

    Abusing other posters doesn’t add weight to your comments – rather the opposite.

  • Butterfly

    StevetheGreat:

    In the same car, Button would be declared the driver of the year, too. Remember, Jenson “Slow” Button dominated the first half of 2009 because of that awesome BrawnGP prototype. Vettel did the same four years in a row with his Newey-mobiles.

    Texas Roadhouse:

    …and I think STR were the only team to run a wet-weather setup in qualy & race. Strange week-end.

  • Krunksoft

    I’m pretty sure Alonso, with all these accolades, would rather be in Seb’s position with the championships rather than being praised as the best driver. Vettel should be at the top right now based on his team. It’s Red Bull’s time but it won’t last forever as we all know Seb realizes. It’s a TEAM sport at the end of the day and if you build the best car you SHOULD win, but you can’t just put anyone behind the wheel of a good car and expect success. It doesn’t work like that and you all know it!! Sometimes teams, designers and engineers come across the perfect driver for THEIR CAR and they do very well together. This seems to be what Red Bull is experiencing right now. I’m not convinced that Vettel would fail with Ferrari or that Alonso would exceed even what Vettel has done if he were with Red Bull since he’s sooooooooooo much better than Seb. It’s never that simple.

  • O’Ferrari

    Why do vettel fanbois bring up brazil 2012?

    Vettel choked, choked again, crashed, took out an innocent competitor and barely scraped home for a championship win. Good thing double points weren’t on offer for that season finale or captain eyebrows would have won the championship.

    Vettel is the clear air king. I believe that he is better in clear air than alonso.

    As for racing, I reckon alonso is better.

    Hard to argue with…..

  • Camillio

    Kubica come back and show who’s the best F1 driver even if he will ridden for example in Caterham

  • Tinto

    Dream on boys, dream on… What you love most you’ve gonna have plenty bashing The King of F1 Ring, Xettel (goes for ten).

    Never excited by Kubica, but I respect the man that suffered so much… An above average F1 driver, so don’t expect much, he talks his mind like everybody else on would coulda should topics, rich material for Alonso’s one of a kind fans.

  • Butterfly

    Tinto:

    Fine, we’ll call him Xettel if it makes you feel less of a loser.

  • Tscotom

    Alonso is the tried and tested World Champion. His 2 Renault trophies attest to that. Scumacher’s presence here, Ferrari’s F1 veto, & then F1′s ‘bias’ against innovative winning solutions e. g. the ‘mass damper’ controversy and yet Alonso beat the odds shows his gritty uniqueness as a champion.
    Thing is, Vettel’s ‘ innovative winning solution’ happens to be a genius of an aero man, Newey ! And it took Ferrari 4 years (!) to make their veto stick, hence the downgraded aero and different type engine for 2014.
    Now the Vettel supporters and naysayers will know the truth !

  • MAD EEVE

    Haha the man(Kubica) gave his honest opinion and got everyone here worked up. Just wait for 2014. We know both are capable drivers. Next season is gonna be like 2009 where the first team to find and adapt to the rules keep winning.Oh well hope some back marker make their presence felt.

  • StevetheGreat

    Yawn. Who did the team principals vote as the best driver in 2013???

    Vettel won unanimously. But you lot know better, right? I’d laugh if you all weren’t so sad.

    Best driver in the best car.
    Open the record books and it’s Vettel’s name the world and history will remember. No Alonso, not Hamilton (aside fron the race card), and def not Webber or Button. If you can accept it then you are a real f1 fan. If not, then you have a man-crush. Simple as.

    I don’t even like Vettel, but his talent is easy to see if one’s eyes are open and not blinded by love. :P

  • fools

    “Put it this way – Vettel is in a tunnel leading straight to victory, while Alonso is in a maze where you are trying to find the way at every turn,” he said.

    SPLENDID! :)

  • Say What?

    I think Kubica’s tunnel/maze metaphor here is very good, and that he answered the question very respectfully. It’s a huge shame he is not part of the F1 paddock anymore as I thought he was among the top drivers there during his time.

    In the Vettel vs. Alonso argument: I don’t think we’ll ever really know for sure – the best way to know would be if they were teammates.

    I would say this to the Vettel opponents though: Let’s not forget Vettel’s maiden victory in a Torro Rosso.

  • O’Ferrari

    Oh God, not this BS again.

  • farizY

    I really do hope Vettel and Alonso can race in the same team, then we will see who’s better. Even if that happens, the cars won’t be 100% identical, probably due to different setup.
    Anyway, both Vettel and Alonso are great drivers.
    Statistically, Vettel hands down is better. Both of them had really good cars during their stints winning WDC. I don’t ever recall somebody winning WDC in a far inferior car. All those who won the championship had a really great package, coupled with their ability to extract most out of it, we get a winning combination.
    With that said, both are great drivers. Hopefully they will be in the same team; someday.

  • O’Ferrari

    Time is running out. Alonso is in his final four/five years. Vettel only getting better.

  • Zombie Jebus Will Eat Your Brain and Take Your Knowledge

    Wow, the further down the story the more trolls appear! :P

    I liked Kubica in F1 despite his resemblence to Gargamel. If he ever figures out how to keep his car from crashing he could have a real career in WRC! Shame he didn’t get to do the Pike’s Peak climb with Loeb like the rumour mill said he might. It would have been great publicity and to see how fast he was in equal equipment on a new circuit for both of them.

    Keep up the good work Robert and just forget about F1!

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