It was a day of mixed emotions for Robert Kubica as he sampled a Formula 1 car for the first time since his freak rally accident in 2011.
The popular Polish driver completed 115 laps on Tuesday, using the team’s 2012 specification, Renault V8 powered E20, in which he conducted several evaluations with various fuel-loads.
His previous F1 outing was in the Renault R31 at the same circuit in February 2011. After which he was seriously injured in a rally accident prior to the start of the 2011 Formula 1 season, but has subsequently returned to rallying, tested several racing cars, including single-seaters.
Kubica said at the end of the day, “I would like to thank everybody for making this possible, 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. 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.”
“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,” he concluded.
Renault’s sporting director Alan Permane summed up the test, “It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car. [He] 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,” added Permane.