Robert Kubica: F1 return 'important' but test shows what I have lost
"I kept working hard and a few years ago I felt it was impossible. I have mixed feelings, I am proud with what I achieved today, but also it shows what I have lost"; Renault claim private test was a "one-off"
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 07/06/17 11:12am
An emotional Robert Kubica feels he has achieved the "impossible" by driving a Formula 1 car again, but still has mixed feelings about his return.
Kubica completed 115 laps in a 2012 Lotus decked out in Renault livery in a private test on Tuesday, in what was his first F1 outing since suffering career-changing injuries in a rallying accident six years ago.
And while the 32-year-old, who had emerged as one of F1's rising talents all the way up to his final season in 2010, enjoyed the day, he admitted it "shows what I have lost".
"I would like to thank everybody for making this possible," Kubica said. "I hope it was a good day for everyone and maybe they saw something of my old, 2010 self.
"For me, it has been an important day from an emotional point of view. It has been a long time away from the paddock and I have been through difficult periods. I kept working hard and a few years ago I felt it was impossible. I have mixed feelings, I am proud with what I achieved today, but also it shows what I have lost."
The test at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit followed on from his single-seater runs in GP3 and Formula E machinery in recent months, with the Pole claiming the last year has built up to an F1 return.
The former BMW and Lotus driver was widely tipped as a future world champion before his one-off participation in an Italian rally between pre-season F1 tests in February 2011 dramatically changed the course of his career.
Just three days after setting the pace at Valencia, Kubica crashed into a church wall during the Ronde di Andora rally and suffered severe damage to his right hand, arm and leg. He underwent several hours of surgery and suffered a partial amputation of his forearm.
With the restricted movement of his arm initially prohibiting him from driving a single-seater again, Kubica made his competitive return in World Rally in 2013 before racing on circuits again last year.
"I don't know what the future will bring, but I know one thing, after working for more than one year to prepare for this, I ran with good pace and consistent in difficult conditions," Kubica added.
"It is not easy after six years, but I knew I could do the job and I can be satisfied. I appreciate the opportunity. Renault gave me my first F1 test in 2005, so I appreciate another test this time around."
Inevitably, Kubica's comeback drive prompted speculation regarding a full-time return to F1.
However, Renault stalwart and current sporting director Alan Permane insisted Kubica's test was a "one-off event" that was the team's way of contributing to his recovery.
"It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car," Permane said. "It was a smooth day. We tried to condense a Grand Prix weekend into one day, which was interesting for him.
"Robert has changed a little, he is more mellow and he wasn't as pushy when asking for every detail about the set-up of the car! His comments and feedback, however, were like turning the clock back for all of us. It is a tricky thing to jump into an F1 car after six years and it was a great performance from him.
"This was a one-off event for Robert. His time with Renault was cut short so abruptly and we perceived such a nice future with him. The team was in Valencia testing with Sergey Sirotkin, so it was the perfect opportunity to offer Robert a day in the car and contribute in our way to his recovery."
Can Mercedes hit back in the 2017 title fight with Ferrari? Don't miss the Canadian GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. The race starts at 7pm on Sunday. Watch the race for £6.99 on NOW TV
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.