Robert Kubica was born on December 7th, 1984 in Kraków, Poland and became the first Polish Formula One driver in 2006 when he replaced Jacques Vileneueve at the BMW Sauber team.
Robert’s fascination with motorsport began at the tender age of four, when he spotted a small off-road vehicle powered by a tiny 4bhp petrol engine. After eventually convincing his father to buy it for him, the young Kubica used to drive it around plastic bottles laid out to make a circuit. It wasn’t long when Robert’s father realized that he needed better equipment, and bought his son a kart. However, Robert was still too young to compete in the Polish Karting Championship as he wasn’t yet ten at the time.
When Robert was finally allowed to enter the championship, he spent three years karting. In this time, Robert cruised to six titles, and looking for something a little more competitive, he moved to Italy to compete in the International Italian Karting Championship. Robert was the first foreigner in the history of the series, and won the championship in 1998.
In 2000, Kubica started his professional racing career when he became a test driver for Formula Renault 2000 car. In only his first season of racing in Formula Renault, Kubica managed a pole position, and continued to improve until the 2002 when he claimed four victories and the runner-up spot in the series. A few guest race appearances and dominant victories later, and Kubica progressed to Formula 3 Euro Series. Although his debut was delayed by a road accident which left him with a broken arm, Kubica displayed great skill when he eventually got behind the wheel. His first race at the Norisring saw Robert win in dominant style, despite wearing a brace and having 19 titanium pins in his arm.
Although Kubica did well in the Formula 3 Euro Series, completing two years in the championship, he moved into the World Renault Series in 2005, and also tested for Renault. A year later, Robert became the official tester for newly bought Sauber team, now called BMW, and enjoyed the mileage he able to build up behind the wheel of a Formula One car.
BMW team lead driver and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve suffered a big accident at the German Grand Prix, and shortly after Jacques complained of headaches, despite having been given the all-clear by doctors. The BMW team decided it was best for Jacques to sit out the Hungarian Grand Prix, and Robert was asked to step up into the race seat. He became the first Pole in Formula One.
Robert’s debut set the paddock alight with a blistering performance that will be etched in the memories of F1 fans for a long time. The young Pole, who most had not heard of much prior to his debut, qualified his BMW in ninth, and ahead of his experienced team mate Nick Heidfeld. Robert finished his first race in seventh place, scoring two world championship points. However, Robert’s BMW was underweight and he was disqualified from his position. His first race performance stood though, and soon after the race BMW announced that Robert would remain with the team for the rest of the season.
Two races later in Italy, Kubica found himself on the podium, adding his name to the record books as the first Pole on the podium, the first Pole to lead a race and the third driver to finish on the podium in only three starts, alongside Ralf Schumacher and Alex Wurz.
With the BMW looking good for 2007, Robert had to perform well next his much more experienced team mate Nick Heidfeld. Although his year started of slow, allowing Heidfeld to open up a healthy points margin, Robert came back well towards the end of the season. He was regularly challenging his team mate and accrued 39 points to finish just behind Nick in the championship. It was a very successful year for all involved at BMW, with the team ending up in second due to McLaren’s exclusion.