Kubica will test Renault’s 2017 car at the Hungaroring

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Robert Kubica will have his first test in a current-specification Formula One car with Renault later this month, the team has confirmed.

The 32-year-old will drive an RS17 in the post-race test at the Hungaroring following next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Pictures: Kubica’s first F1 test for six years
Kubica, who remains the only Polish driver to have raced in Formula One, drove 115 laps in one of the team’s 2012 cars at Valencia in June. He drove the car again at Paul Ricard earlier this month, covering another 90 laps.

“The first two days of testing allowed both Robert and ourselves to gather a great amount of information,” said Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. “The upcoming session with the RS17 at the Hungaroring will allow us all to obtain detailed and precise data in a current car and representative conditions.”

“After this test, we will carefully analyse the collected information to determine in what conditions it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years.”

His Formula One career was halted in February 2011 when he almost lost his right arm in a crash on the Ronde di Andora rally. Following his recovery Kubica still has limited movement in the arm but he has competed in rallies and eventually in the World Rally Championship.

Since returning to circuit racing Kubica has driven a variety of GT cars. However he scrapped a plan to drive an LMP1 car run by former F1 team boss Colin Kolles in the World Endurance Championship this year and has begun preparing for a possible return to Formula One.

Renault will also run its junior driver Nicholas Latifi at the two-day test.

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

    Browse all Hungarian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    68 comments on “Kubica will test Renault’s 2017 car at the Hungaroring”


      1. Love to see him again on the grid…fingers crosed

      2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        24th July 2017, 16:37

        How F1 fans are feeling right now.

      3. Amen to that. This is the smoke from the fire I was yearning to see for the last couple years. Really really really hope he is back on the grid in 2018

    2. One way or another, it’ll be bye bye Palmer

      1. I wouldn’t miss Joyless Palmer either :)

    3. Good news for Robert, I am pretty sure everyone will want to see the time-sheet now! However it seems Palmer will keep his seat for the rest of the year, not so convinced by this approach so I hope there is a chance Kubica get the seat this year.

      In all fairness I think Palmer is out next year no matter what, so Renault should really consider evaluation Robert in a GP or 2 this year to make a quick decision about their 2018 line-up.

      1. Agree. I think Palmer will be giving his seat up to Robert for a lot of FP sessions this year anyways, but if Renault really want to evaluate Robert, it would be good to give him a couple of race weekends.

        Either ways, Renault have nothing to lose. Palmer isn’t going to be getting any points for them, and he isn’t exactly a popular driver who brings in fans or good publicity for the team.

        If Kubica makes it back on the grid, my hat’s off to him. I don’t think any driver has come back from a more crippling injury to race in Formula 1 again.

          1. Lauda got burned, not cripled.

            1. Even if Kubica becomes champion it won’t be as extraordinary as Niki’s return/achievements.

            2. @Michael don’t think it’s fair to compare. They would be both extraordinary achievements.

          2. if Lauda’s accident had happened today, he would have never been allowed to race as soon as he did.

        1. I’d chuck Johnny Herbert into this category too…

          1. to be honest everyone talks about kubica’s hand, but his legs were also damaged probably as much as Herbert’s. Kubica walks with a constant limp now , with one foot facing out a bit. Kubica was asked in about 2013 how many operations he had, and he answered back “about as many as there are races in an f1 season”. he even had prosthetic bones put in his right elbow after the first operations didn’t offer enough elbow rotation. so much of his right side of the body was damaged, most things repaired, but it was the severed right hand at the wrist nearly totally severed that was the killer, recovered but not totally in an operation lasting about half a day under induced coma.

            comparing Lauda to Kubica, I think Kubica’s situation is far worse, it sidelined him for 6.5 years from f1 – the whole time Kubica saying he will only return when he is ready. Lauda was sidelined for what, 6 weeks? also Kubica would have been dead if his accident happened in lauda’s era, he would have run out of blood first, and even if he had blood, he wouldn’t have had the microsurgery, his arm would have had to be amputated. the amputation was considered for Kubica too, thankfully the doctors did the surgery – luckily he was a highly paid sports star, for everyone else it would have been amputation straight away. it took a long time for kubica to get ANY feeling back in his right hand.

            Lauda himself welcomed Kubica’s comeback a few days ago, and said he would not find a problem getting a seat in f1 now he is ready. he said Kubica’s talent is like “pure clear water”

        2. @todfod, Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert both overcame crippling leg injuries (the latter albeit in Formula 3000, but managing to make it into F1 afterwards) – in both cases they suffered injuries that we so severe that doctors considered amputating their left feet, and indeed both are still partially disabled due to those injuries (I believe that Herbert cannot run due to his ankle injuries).

          1. Pannis too

        3. @todfod I fully agree. Even if they only give Kubica 3-4 Free Practice 1 runnings, it’s already quite a significant impact on Palmer’s preparation. He’s admitted more than once that he (still) needs to adjust his driving style to the car, which isn’t a bad thing per se (look at Kimi for example) but Palmer just doesn’t have that last couple of tenths of talent in him that most other current F1 drivers do have. Not being able to fully prepare for some of the coming race weekends will only hurt Palmer, not help him.

          If Renault were serious about retaining him, they should let Hülkenberg sit out FP1 in order to run Kubica. It wouldn’t hurt The Hulk as much as Palmer. So personally, I think the way to approach this (with the assumption Renault will want to replay Palmer) is to give Kubica a FP1 running soon, let it sink in for both parties for a couple of weeks, try another FP1 running or two and if the results and expectations from both (Kubica/Renault) are met, replace Palmer for at least two full race weekends. Two because you wouldn’t want to risk Kubica to be taken out by Sainz in the first corner in Abu Dhabi. ;)

          1. and what if… Kubica will beat JP in every FP1 they do both?
            IMHO if the RS 17 test will be successful, RK should get whole GP weekend with an extra test day (FIA rule for drivers coming back), and than – if he proves again and score points – he could keep the sit to the end of the season. Potential reward for WCC points is worth more than money JP is putting in, not mentioning the spirit for the team and technical feedback quality.

    4. What is the super-license situation with Kubica. I don’t think he has 40 points, does he?

      1. Just as Schumacher wouldn’t have needed 40 points if he wanted to return under these superlicence rules, the FIA can evaluate the racereadiness of a driver and he only needs 300kms in this years car to be eligable for the superlicence.

        1. While yes, it’s 300km within two days of testing on current car and on competitive track. So if he wan’t that super-licence right a way, he must drive 300km/4.381km=68.5->69 laps on Hungaroring next weekend.

          1. Does he even need that?
            I thought There was a clause for any driver who’se previously held a superlicense?

            1. @scottie The 300km is the clause you’re talking about. The fact that one previously had held a superlicence doesn’t entitle him to get it back after 6 years without any competitive testing.

      2. He only needs to complete 300kms. I hope the car doesnt break down! I wonder if will see kubica in the f1 paddock at hungary race weekend?! That would really put palmer on edge. This news today is going take a while to sink in!

    5. He doesn’t need it, Fia already told to change rules for him if neccesary.

    6. big balls, Renault, appreciated
      a miracle
      go Robert, you are making it happened

    7. Go for it Robert !!!

    8. I’d like Kubica to test the Halo too, specifically egress.

      I’m not a Halo hater, but as one driver with limited mobility in one arm, the tests by other drivers cannot be extrapolated to him.

      1. Alan permane said that he completed the 5 second cockpit evacuation test first go at paul riccard, so im sure this will be no problem. Im pretty sure renault have thought of everything, this has been over half a year in the making. Its not like he has no hand at all. I saw him in a video from monza at the lemans prologue test talking to engineers and demonstating holding steering wheel and changing upshift with right hand paddle. He chooses to change up and down with left paddle though as he has driven like that for 5 years.

        1. Ah – so both shifts on the left are more a preference, rather than outright inability? That’s reassuring.

          1. yes, and actually there are photos of him doing sim racing with a right handle manual shift since accident, and he tested a gp3 car recently which would have been sequential manual. it is a preference thing, and why not if it helps?? Jaques Villeneuve used to use only left hand paddle in f1. for me I have been thinking about all the dials on a 2017 f1 car steering wheel, and will he do it all with left hand? I’m sure Renault have worked that out with Kubica as he has been doing time in their 2017 simulator, so they would have sorted it all out in simulator before a formal test. Back when Kubica was in WRC, he stated that he can drive the car one handed with his RIGHT HAND. so though his hand is frail, it must be strong enough.. – his thumb and index finger are the strong ones, they grip the wheel. the middle finger looks to have very limited feeling and movement. the issue for an f1 return was always arm/wrist rotation as that is where it got cut severely.

    9. HYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10. Palmer will now need to find yet another underpant to burn :p

      1. He can try burn his bra too.

    11. Awesome!!! Wishing him a great run!

    12. Abitaboul has played this well for renault, downplaying the return, yet renault now has the best joker card in f1, a top 5 or better driver that will essentially drive for free. How much would alonso’s management demand for a renault contract? im sure renault have a pre-agreement with kubica, so that no other team will try to poach him after hungary teest. Kubica also just after the first test picked up a new sponsor, im sure others would jump on board.

      1. Who says he is a top 5 driver? He’s been out of the sport for a long time. He needs to prove himself again.

        1. Im sure renault knows the data, kubica drove an f1 car first time in over 6 years and was already faster than their third driver. He is said to be quicker in simulator already than hulk and jolyon, why else would renault give him this test? They know deal. Kubica says he can return at the same level or maybe higher. He said it took him only 1 lap to drive as quick as he used to.

          1. Personally I don’t care who says what and how they perform in a simulator. Robert has got to prove himself again on track bringing respectable results. Probably only after a full season we can really assess his abilities and rank him against the others.

            1. fair enough. but I believe he will be fast straight away, because he is that good. even in WRC against career rally drivers, he won 14 stages in the slowest car, and won WRC-2 championship easy against “young talent”. He has been fast in everything he has driven, and will be fast again in F1.

        2. Alonso says

    13. I haven’t been this excited in a while!..good on Renault for giving Robert and chance, they must genuinely believe that he has the pace if he’s been given a go!.

      Best news of heard in a while.

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        24th July 2017, 13:38

        It’s been a great news season overall and this is the icing on the cake. Minus the halo, that’s the only blot but a pretty big one.

      2. They don’t have to believe it. They’ve seen it.

    14. Good! :D

    15. What if being out for so long means he is know where near what he once was? Think Schumacher from 2006 until 2010. Not the same.

      1. If it was like you’re saying we wouldn’t be deliberating about this today. Renault F1 Team is not a bunch of amateurs…

    16. On one hand, it would be nice to see Kubica back in F1 because he was one of the very best drivers in 2010 and also because he deserves a second chance. It sounds like a fairytale story at first.

      Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that an excellent F1 driver can still be as excellent after a serious injury followed by more than six years of absence from the sport, especially when the cars have become quicker and harder to drive in the meantime. Renault will obviously have a lot of data after the test but you have to wonder if the quality of the driver is the only aspect they are taking into account in this case.

      There is a lot of hype around Kubica’s potential comeback, he is still extremely popular and it cannot be a bad thing for a manufacturer team, which is far away from the top but aims to get there. But do Renault really believe that Kubica is a long-term option? Also, will the fans be happy if he cannot perform on the same level as Hulkenberg (or better)?

      I hope that I am going to be proven wrong but right now I am afraid that Kubica’s comeback might turn out to be a damp squib.

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        24th July 2017, 14:37

        @girts I would be happy if he is simply better than Palmer. I mean, he doesn’t need to beat Hulk. He just needs to keep grabbing some points for the team. Something that Palmer haven’t achieved, even on weekends when the car was ready for that achievement.

        1. I more than agree with Omar.
          Kubica’s achievement is massive already. All the rest is a bonus for him.
          Renault is on the different side – they would not invest so much resources, if they did not believe. For them it is done IMO – they are preparing/building him for regular racing.

      2. To all of you, I’m Polish and I’m really happy to see all that positive comments about Robert. Thanx for that. The news about him going back to racing in F1 it’s absolutely amazing and I can wait to see him in Hungary.
        This is gonna be most important test of his life witch I believe he is going to pass with flying colours.
        Robert is prepared and so determined to get back like no one else.
        For those who don’t know, it’s not like he didn’t race at all, hi did participate in races around Europe in different categories to rebuild strength and he was always saying that he would love to get back to F1.
        So now it’s the time to put him in the seat and let him do what he does best.

      3. @girts
        “On one hand” – lol

      4. @girts. I completely agree. I honestly do not think there’s a realistic chance of Robert coming back to full time F1 anytime soon, but I would be happy to eat my profile if proven wrong!

      5. @girts
        If you change the name to Schumacher, you would be spot on. I think it may be a similar situation for Kubica.

        I am still very, very, happy for him.

    17. Go Kubica go!

    18. Holy fish can’t believe this is happening !

      Come on Kubica lets do this !

    19. Finally some good news

    20. If Kubica returns to Renault I will change my username to RobertKubica08

    21. Woo hoo!!

    22. “post-race”, @keithcollantine ?

      Get it right! It’s young drivers’ test. 😉😉

    23. Cyril doesn’t know anything that’s going on in his team… Now he’s been briefed.

    24. I would love to see Kubica back on the grid, but it would be even better if it was in something a little more competitive than the Renault.

    25. Good luck to Kubica! I still don’t believe this is happening. If he pulls it off it’s unprecedented in the history of F1! People above brought examples of Lauda, Herbert and Brundle. But none of them had crippling injuries to the same extent as Kubica.

    26. So Renault must use at least one rookie/young driver…. leaving the other day usually for their current drivers to test new stuff/changes – which was the reason mentioned recently why Kubica would not be at Hungary….however now that we find Kubica confirmed it would not be unreasonable to assume this is both a massive vote of confidence in Kubica and would suggest they are ready to use him, AND a final test to confirm he really is capable of showing the form in a current f1 car that he showed at the previous test in the 2012 car.
      If he does as well as expected, doest it make Palmers position untenable? He hasnt shown any real improvement during his time with renault ( even the much lamented stroll has shown progress) and is effectively a pay driver who will leave renault at the end of the year anyway so why keep him for the second half of the season when kubica could do with the time in the car as prep for next year? He couldnt do any worse than palmer?
      Palmer out and kubica in, regardless of contract situations.

    27. Good luck to Robert, and to all Palmer haters – he is a lot better than the stats suggest.

      Renault have given him a crap car this year and he’s never had the chance to prove himself which he has done time and again in junior formulae.

      Let it play out and I’m quite sure Jolyon, gentleman that he is, would be among the first to congratulate Robert for taking his seat. If and it’s a very big IF it will happen.

    28. Robert Kubica should have 5 or 6 WDCs by now

    Comments are closed.