Kubica's high speed career gets Poles fired up over motor sport
Ski jumping wouldn't have reached its unprecedented popularity in Poland if it hadn't been for the successes of a single athlete - Adam Malysz. And now motor racing, a sport that, until recently didn't enjoy a high profile has became popular thanks to the spectacular career of one young man.
The motor-racing craze in Poland is the work of 23 year-old Robert Kubica - Poland's only Formula One driver. Kubica received his first title at the age of 10 when he became Poland's go-carting champion. Four years later, he became the first foreigner to claim the title of go-carting champion of Italy. In 2000 Kubica started his professional career as a test driver for Formula Renault and last year he became the official test driver for the BMW Sauber Formula One team. Poland's Robert Kubica says that Formula 1 is not a simple race.
"One must understand Formula 1 races and know what they are about. The thing is that when you watch it sitting at home all you can see is the race alone while Formula 1 means much much more. It involves two, three hundred people working on a success of a given driver outside the racing track. There are 300 mechanics and engineers who for 300 days produce a racing car which will later hit the track. We don't see that sitting at home but this is what makes F1 races so specific".
Kubica is not the only Polish driver in Formula races. Natalia Kowalska is the first Polish female driver ever. Only 17, she is called the "queen of go-carting". Her first contact with racing was at the age of four and only last year she became part of the Formula Renault team. Her dream is to follow in Kubica's footsteps.
"I think I will do everything, I will practice as much as possible to get into Formula 1 and I hope I will. My parents didn't want me to drive. My sister was driving so my parents did not want another child to drive. And I did many, many sports - I was dancing, I played tennis - I did really a lot of things. I had a lot of Barbie dolls, I just loved Barbie dolls, you know, but every time with Barbie dolls I went to the track. I think it's a kind of magnesium - I just love to go to the track. I learnt to ride a bike on a track, everything. And of course I learnt to drive a go-cart on a track.
"Fans of this sport are of various ages and occupations it seems but what connects them is the thrill of the races. Among the die-hard fans of Formula One is Urszula Dudziak, a renowned Polish jazz vocalist. She was among the 80 000 crowd who turned up for the first street demonstration of the Formula Renault Roadshow in Warsaw recently.
"This is an incredible adventure which is very exciting. I have never seen it in life, I've always watched it on TV so I am very excited. Why? Speed and sound, of course! Kubica - of course, we are very proud of him. Now he is, I think, seventh or eighth in the world but I hope he will be standing on the podium one day".
Judging by his performance in France a week ago when he took fourth place - this may be not a distant prospect. Polish fans are delighted to see Kubica back on the track and - in top form less than a month after he miraculously escaped with only a sprained ankle from a horrific crash in Canada.