A second test with the Renault F1 team heightens rumours that Kubica will race again next year
Speaking to Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 32-year-old Pole said that his June test, which was the first time he’d driven an F1 car since the horrific rally crash that severely damaged his right arm in 2011, had been “easier than expected”.
“My confidence issues were gone in three laps, so I could get back into the rhythm,” Kubica said. “I was shocked how fast the adaptation was, or at least there was not really adaptation for me.”
In the upcoming second test, Kubica, one of F1’s most highly rated drivers and a grand prix winner, is expected to drive the same Renault-liveried Lotus E20 as in the earlier test.
Renault has had to adapt the car so that all of the controls and both gear shifters are on the left-hand side of the cockpit, due to Kubica’s limited use of his right arm.
In his first stint at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain, he completed 115 laps at a competitive pace, spurring on rumours that he could soon return to F1.
“For sure I cannot step into racing [yet]. I would be crazy,” he said. “If someone called me next week, I wouldn’t do it. It’s not because I don’t feel that I’m capable of doing it, but because I feel that I cannot rush. It’s too much of a risk to take.”
Kubica explained that he wanted more time in the car to further evaluate his condition, which has required him to become even fitter than he was before his accident. He revealed that he has undergone a difficult and lengthy rehabilitation period to reach the point he’s at now.
“I think the best moment [of the recent test] was when I discovered that I can actually do it,” he said. “The other moment was to discover that I was still [driving] like it hadn’t been six years. That was the biggest highlight I could have ever thought about.”
You can read more about our interview with Robert Kubica in next week’s issue of Autocar.