Robert Kubica feels he is in some “deep water” as he prepares for his first-ever campaign as a DTM driver.
The Alfa Romeo reserve is doubling up his driving duties by tackling the DTM series and has taken part in a four-day pre-season test at the Nurburgring this week, racking up 541 laps and finishing half a second off the pace in P12.
Ahead of the opening round at Spa on August 1-2, Kubica is keeping his expectations in check as one of the rookies in the field.
“I’m looking very realistically to my opportunities and to this year,” Kubica said via Motorsport.com.
“Of course I rate very highly the field and the drivers in this championship. It’s kind of jumping into the deep water for me as I have no experience of these cars [in racing conditions].
“Formula 1 is the highest motorsport category on track, and WRC is the highest rally category. I participated in both of them, but still DTM I would not rate it far away from a competition point of view. So it’s a big challenge in front of me.
“The DTM is a very compact weekend, so there’s not a lot of running time, there’s not a lot of things you can do, not a lot of opportunities to learn. And experience plays a very important role.
He continued: “When you are racing for a very long time in one category, which is Formula 1, which is quite unique from the way you drive, from how the cars are feeling, and then you jump into a completely different category in DTM but still on very, very high level, and you go against the drivers who are especially [experienced] in this category, it has always been difficult and it will always be very difficult.
“Of course you can be more lucky, you can be less lucky, depending upon what car you are driving, depending upon how the situation is year-by-year, but definitely this is one of the aspects and one of the difficulties.
“Even not only by driving, but procedures, operational [things]. For example, starts. Okay, I have done many standing starts, but last time I was using a clutch on the foot was 17 years ago.
“The experience you have from different categories is helping you bring very small percentages, and most of the things you have to kind of forget what you know, and learn from what is needed to drive this car and what is the best way to drive it and operate it.”