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Heidfeld vs. Kubica: Who Will Get The Upper Hand In 2009?

Heidfeld vs. Kubica: Who Will Get The Upper Hand In 2009?

Yesterday I posed the question about Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, and today I ask the same for Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica: who will come out on top in 2009? Looking at their 2008 form will suggest that Kubica will easily score better than his team mate, but as Raikkonen discovered, the second driver’s cars proved not to their liking. Let’s take a closer look and the German marque’s choice of talent in the cockpit.

Nick Heidfeld, BMW’s darling driver from the final season at Williams, has started 150 races, scored 200 points and claimed 1 pole position and 2 fastest laps. In his career to date, Heidfeld has looked mature and calculated on many occasions and often finished races higher up the field than other drivers would have achieved given similar circumstances. Of the races last season that were thought to be dull and uninspiring, Nick often overtook other drivers, even managing two passes in one corner at the Belgian Grand Prix.

On the other side of the garage is a driver who is said to be much faster and often talked up to being a future world champion. Robert Kubica has only raced in 40 grands prix, is yet to score a fastest lap but does have 1 pole position and 1 win to his name. Having scored 120 points, the race-to-points ratio is already looking far more promising than Heidfeld’s. Youth is perhaps Kubica’s biggest let down, and on occasion this shone through last season when comparing the two drivers. Of course, looking at the bigger picture though, youth is very much Robert’s advantage.

In 2008, the BMW team continued their progress with the F1.08 and the campaign started well with a flurry of points and podiums. In Canada, the scene of Kubica’s almighty accident just twelve months previous, the Pole won with his team mate in tow. It was Robert’s and the team’s first victory, and complemented with Heidfeld in second the race couldn’t have gone better. It was to be the only win of the season though as development of the chassis slowed as the season progressed. Heidfeld began to struggle in qualifying and Kubica became ever more outspoken towards the team as his position in the championship started to slip. The season ended with Nick on 60 points and Kubica on 75.

With a shake-up in the rules for 2009, it is anybody’s guess as to where the cars will start the year, but with some solid experience behind them, and already one race victory, BMW must surely be starting to think about mounting a serious challenge on the title. Robert Kubica managed to keep himself in the hunt right up until the penultimate race last year, so it would be obvious to pick the Pole as the majority points scorer for BMW in 2009. However, I don’t believe Heidfeld will let his team mate get away with it again, and providing the car can be built and set-up to his liking, I would expect Quick Nick to shine once again, just as he did in 2007.

So how do you think the battle of the BMW team mates will go in 2009, who do you think will come out on top?

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Image © BMW AG.

Oliver White

5 comments

  • This is a tough one to call. I think these two will be the most evenly matched team mates on the grid this year, but I am pipping Quick Nick to *just* edge out in front.

    Reason? If he doesn’t beat his team mate this year, then I think Quick Nick’s career will be all but over, and he knows it. That is going to be a pretty powerful motivator, methinks.

    Plus Quick Nick has yet to stand on the top step of the podium, which has to a goal for this season. I hope he does it, I’ve always liked Heidfeld. I liked him more without the dead badger on his face though 🙁

  • Heidfeld should get his first win this season. While I expect them to be close, I will give him the nod over Robert, especially if he gets out of the gate quick at the start of the season.

    I have a feeling the BMW is going to be pretty quick- both of these guys could be right in the championship mix.

  • If KERS is used I think Heidfeld would have a slight advantage but there is a very strong possibility that no team will run KERS in the majority of the races.

    I think there is little in it between these two and the change in the tech regs may decide it. It could just come down to who is most comfortable in the new cars.

  • Honestly, in terms of pure talent Kubica is a world champion-class driver, in case of Heidfled its “just” extremely consistent and hardworking first league driver, without the champion’s spark. If both of them will run on the same level of support from the team (not Hamilton-Kovalainen case), Heidfeld will trail Kubica by a mile.

  • Personally I think Heidfeld will have the upper hand. Last year the car didnt fit him, but with the rules change, especially the slick tyres, I favour Quick Nick.

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