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SEPTEMBER 20, 2010

Is Kubica the Singapore dark horse?

Robert Kubica split the Red Bulls on the Monaco grid in May and as F1 heads to the Singapore streets, the Pole will also be hoping to get in among the title contenders in F1's spectacular night race.

Kubica is looking forward to the challenge of Singapore, one of the most physically demanding races on the calendar due to the bumps and the humidity, but is not taking competitiveness for granted.

"It's true that Singapore is the closest circuit to Monaco on the calendar, but Monaco was over four months ago," he said. "I'd like the car to be as competitive and easy to drive as it was back then, because it makes it easy for me to push straight away and easier for the engineers to work on extracting the final bit of performance. But things change quickly in Formula 1 and it may not be the case. My approach will be as usual: I will keep in mind that we are fighting in a very strong pack of cars, and lately teams like Williams have become very strong, so we need to wait and see. But I'm definitely looking forward to a good performance."

Kubica admits that the unusual aspects to the Singapore weekend add to the complexities: "It's one of the toughest weekends of the season in all aspects. You are driving at night and having meetings very late in the evening, so the way we are working is very strange and the hours are completely crazy. The approach I took last year meant that I was going to bed very late - about four in the morning. After I went to sleep, I would wake up about three or four in the afternoon. What's strange is that you don't really feel the effects - probably because the adrenaline and concentration is so high when you are at the track. It's only after the weekend you feel a bit strange.

"In terms of car set-up, the aero side is still very important but because it's bumpy and there are many low-speed corners, the car has to be as good as possible in terms of mechanical grip. You're often using the kerbs in the low speed corners, and limited for mechanical grip, so the car must be easy to drive and give the driver confidence to attack the kerbs. The other factor is that because this is a temporary circuit, the grip levels develop much faster and much more than on a permanent track. So you need to anticipate the track evolution and what it will change for the car balance."

Renault is chasing Mercedes for fourth place in the constructors championship and will be anticipating that Singapore is a venue where Kubica can make an impression on the 31 point gap between the two teams.