Robert Kubica, Renault, Hungaroring, 2017

Kubica says his chance of returning to F1 is “very slight”

2017 F1 season

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Robert Kubica has admitted his chance of making a return to Formula One is “very slight” despite his recent tests for Renault.

With Carlos Sainz Jnr set to join Nico Hulkenberg at the team next year there is no longer a vacancy for Kubica to fill. However he is believed to be under consideration at Williams as a possible replacement for Felipe Massa.

But Kubica told the FIA magazine Auto he believes his chances of returning are low.

“I am very realistic and I know that the possibility of my returning full-time to racing in Formula One is very slight,” said the 32-year-old.

“Every day, I discover my new limits, but I have always hoped that I’d at least get the chance to give it a go. I’ve done a lot of kilometres in the simulator and I’ve driven in other categories, but I knew that only driving a Formula One car would give me those special feelings again and that proved to be true.”

Kubica suffered serious injuries to his right arm and torso in a rally crash before the start of the 2011 F1 season. He admitted his recovery has taken longer than expected.

“Life had given me so much and then, in an instant, it took it all away,” said Kubica. “They say time is a healer but that wasn’t the case for me – in fact it made me suffer more.”

“At first I thought I’d get full functionality back quite quickly, but that didn’t happen and the improvement I was hoping for didn’t come. It was tough, but I realised I had to accept it. Once I managed that, I was able to embark on a new chapter.”

“The accident turned my life upside down, but I’m aware that a few centimetres more and I wouldn’t be here talking about it,” he added. “The biggest job I had to do was in my own head.”

“There were some terrible times in which I no longer felt up to it. It was worse than a physical pain, but now I can finally feel at peace with myself, because I’m back to being who I was – a Formula One driver.”

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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...

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  • 48 comments on “Kubica says his chance of returning to F1 is “very slight””

    1. Rosberg was on Polish tv yesterday talking up kubica, i think he is trying very hard behind the scenes to convince williams to sign him. Kubica was spotted at heathrow airport yesterday, and talked more positively about a possible return a couple days ago with interviews for his sponsor olimp, and talked down romours that he was slow in long runs in hungary.

    2. the possibility of my returning full-time to racing in Formula One is very slight

      I read that as ‘we’re discussing some part-time single races comeback’.

      1. I wonder what Martini’s view is on having 3 drivers at Williams.
        Does only one need to be older than 25.

        PS – and they haven’t had a pole since 2014 ;)

        1. hear they’re bring Monisha on as a consultant

        2. PS – and they haven’t had a pole since 2014 ;)

          And they’ve never had a Pole. ;)

          1. Let’s get a Pole on pole? Go Williams!

      2. What would be the benefit of a part time driver? That makes no sense.

        1. They have no chance of a WDC, and all three count to the WCC standing (which does have monetary impact).

          1. There’s so little logic to that I don’t even know where to begin. How about consistency? How about car development? How about sponsors? Sauber were the joke of the pit lane when they did this without any intention of running the third contracted driver. I’m not sure if you’re having a wind up here or actually serious. 🤣

            1. No I’m serious.
              What you mention (development and learning the car) are drawbacks, but it might very well be overcome by the upside that some drivers are better at some circuits. And Kubica is the best example of this as he has mentioned himself (last year) that he’s not sure if with his handicap he can do all races.
              And don’t forget the positive press you get and advertiser appeal (or daddy appeal) if you can link your car to 3 drivers.

              And it’s not so novel or Sauber unique either. McLaren has done it this year, and STR has done it a few times.
              As long as you’re not fighting with the big boys in the WDC it could make a lot of sense.

            2. Why Me?, I believe that, after some teams started abusing the system to cycle through large numbers of pay drivers (for example, Prost Grand Prix going through five different drivers in 2001), the FIA restricted the number of times that the teams can change a driver for reasons other than injury.

              Asides from that, as a strategy it sounds sub-optimal in terms of development work, since you would have more widely varying driver feedback and potentially no single driver could lead that development work, as well as the potential deterioration of driver performance if each driver was to spend an extended period of time sitting on the sidelines rather than driving the car and acquiring additional knowledge and experience. The internal disruption with repeated driver changes sounds like, overall, it would probably not work out that well for the team or the drivers.

              The comparison with Toro Rosso doesn’t work that well either, as in those cases the mid-season changes were made on a permanent basis – Speed and Bourdais weren’t swapped back in and out of the team, they were just fired and replaced with a new driver for good.

    3. It all seemed to be so upbeat a few weeks ago. I wonder if anything in particular altered the possibility – maybe he has just appreciated the quality of the new hopefuls trying to find their first F1 seats.

      1. I think the Renault seat being taken by Sainz played a big role.

      2. Apparently he was significantly slower than Hulkenberg on the same tyre / similar conditions and the delta was more than could be chalked up to unfamiliarity with the machinery as Norris and Leclerc compared much more favourably with Alonso and Vettel respectively.

        I don’t know how much truth there is in that but it was tweeted by one of the more prominant journos, I can’t quite remember who now.

        1. that was from german journos, he was promoting wherline and Kubica times were faster than hulk on long runs, here’s the proof https://twitter.com/search?vertical=default&q=kubica&src=typd&lang=pl

      3. I would say it is Keith Collantine twisting Kubica’s interviews from months ago and taking his statements out of context. No worries, Kubica is fast, consistent and determined. Honda, Sains deal at RS and big money derailed his RS approach.

        1. Ah one more @Keith Collantine – have you heard about something that is called a responsible journalism? Guess not.

          1. This must be your first time at this site and the first article you’ve skimmed over if that is your opinion of Keith – a man who excels at impartial journalism. I think almost all of us here are huge Kubica fans, so… Welcome to your new family!

        2. I would say it is Keith Collantine twisting Kubica’s interviews from months ago and taking his statements out of context.

          You’re wrong – see paragraph three.

    4. Well, it was worth a shot.

    5. This article is a lie!!!!! Here is the link to te interview with Nico Rosberg recordered yesterday evening.
      https://youtu.be/RUlsYg9MhVs

      1. Can you clarify with text please because mobile data is scarce for some. Many thanks!

        1. Yesterday at Polish TV Nico Rosberg stated, that the race for Williams seat is on. He asked for the “support of whole Polish nation”, what you can translate as “sponsors from Poland needed”.

          1. Almette should sponsor him & Williams. Best soft cheese ever, lots of different flavours, highly recommended. In your local Polish shop now.

            1. Yea Almette is very nice.recomend u to discover more PL food.you will like it.

          2. Lol. Maybe he should start crowdfunding…
            He will just be a simple pay driver.

          3. So does this mean that its all down to money? The money needed for Williams to run a test for Robert? Weren’t they looking to get a Polish oil company (the unfortunately christened PGNiG) to sponsor the test?

            So effectively, if Robert stumps up with the cash, he’s in. To be fair (and all due respect), he’s only got to be quicker than Stroll…no?

            I honestly think that Strolls will push for Paul Di Resta, he is less of a risk to them.

        2. N.Rosberg: “Opportunities are there because everyone knows how Robert did during the test, which was very important. There are no question marks.”

          1. Sounds like there are many question marks for those in positions to make driver lineup decisions, but I wouldn’t expect Nico, acting as his agent, to say so.

            1. Once again: why has he still opportunities if there are so many question marks? Williams ackonwledge they’re evaluating Kubica, right?

            2. That’s true but it just feels like slim chances. It just appears like his best chance was with Renault, who did him a favour by giving him the opportunity to see how he would fare once in an F1 car again. That seat is gone and Williams are perhaps looking at him, but we have no idea how strong his odds are there. Nobody else has been mentioned that I’m aware of. Hey I have no issues with the guy, but I, like many, just have a lot of question marks about his ability to race in anger, which is different from testing. And can his arm handle a high speed crash like someone without a pre-existing condition would be able to? Don’t mean to sound insensitive or cruel. There is also the simple fact that he has been out of F1 for 6 years, challenged arm or not. I’ll be perfectly fine if he gets a seat, and he’ll be fascinating to watch, but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t.

          2. Renault said that it was questionmarks over his return.
            Why would Williams sign him if Renault turned him down?

    6. Mr. Keith is misleading. It’s very inappropriate. Shame mister.

        1. And you are wrong also.
          That comes from an interview ages ago (few months to be specific – but these are ages in terms of how quick things are changing in F1).
          To simplify – Robert is coming back. Well he had done it already (driving in current car is a come back).
          Robert is coming back to racing seat. Whether someone likes it or not. And apparently British press is not interested in showing it how it is. In some manner it is understandable – they are playing for British drivers, here: DIR, PAL, well, he one leg out whatsoever.
          German press will play for Wehrlain and so on, so on.
          But in the end of the day it has nothing to do with solid journalism.

          1. If you think Keith would rather see Di Resta or Palmer return than Kubica because of some nationalistic prejudice you’re barking up the wrong tree. Considering the source was a magazine published yesterday, if the information is out of date it’s their fault rather than Keith’s.

            There’s nothing wrong with correcting poor information, for example most of us wouldn’t have known about Rosberg’s appearance on Polish TV, but do so in a constructive manner rather than accusing Keith of bias when he can only rely on second-hand information like the rest of us.

            1. Ok. If we separate true, solid journalism from copy & paste sharing.

    7. Kubica said at Monza that his chances for return are high. Lately in the interview for polish journalist he said that too often media try to create reality without knowledge about things known only to few who were at Hungaroring. Rosberg said that Kubica will be back because he deserves it and that he has shown his talent at Hungaroring also. The test was very good. Now patience is required.

    8. Yesterday at Polish TV Nico Rosberg stated, that the race for Williams seat is on. He asked for the “support of whole Polish nation”, what you can translate as “sponsors from Poland needed”.

    9. It’s out of date, look for actual information…

    10. Where did it come from? Sounds like very old and twisted news.

    11. Poor guy. They started this up cause of the hype caused by Alonso running Indy. They wanted F1 to look ‘racer friendly’ cause Indycar was looking pretty friendly to give Alonso a shot. They never had any intentions of giving Kubica a seat. As far as F1 is concerned, he has a ride, and he’s on it now.

    12. Like I said the other day having spoken to somebody from Renault certain issues came up during Robert’s test with the 2017 car that put them off signing him for 2018. If they had felt he was fast enough & able enough he was there 1st choice for 2018. During his test they felt his one lap pace was ‘good’ but that his long run pace was lacking as was his ability to manage the car over a race distance. That is why Renault took the decision to go after Carlos Sainz.

      If they felt he was ready & able to come back believe me he’d be in that car for 2018, If not sooner (For Friday runs, If not race drives). They didn’t spend time, effort & a not insignificant amount of money providing him with the simulator/track testing time that they did just so he could drive an F1 car again… They were doing it because many within what is now Renault love Robert & wanted to make the comeback happen just as much as Robert did/does.

      The fact Renault did what they did for the reasons they did & subsequently backed away from going any further says everything you need to know….. Unfortunately.

      1. Yes You need to mention that Kubica’s statement are just old.

    13. Keith

      some are right here – this is misleading info
      the words taken out of the context from the old interview, where Bobby started to asses with Renault if he was able to drive

      I suppose it came today from fia issued journal – pages 38-42 – and many titles (including you) repeat the words as todays, which is very misleading
      https://issuu.com/issufia/docs/auto20_issuu_rgb

      after Hungaro there are no questions – and Rosberg is right

    14. If he can’t get a ride in F1 he would be fun to watch In a Indycar but idk if he could drive one since they do not have power steering.

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