Robert Kubica is adamant that he remains the same guy he was ten months ago, only difference is that now he is on a journey that may end with him returning to the Formula 1 grid for the first time since 2010, but he also admits that if nothing comes of his current foray he is prepared for the consequences.
Amid speculation (vehemently denied by Renault) that Kubica could replace under-pressure Jolyon Palmer as soon as the Belgian Grand Prix, the popular Polish driver said, “I am the same guy which was 10 months ago, four months ago, one week ago. My limitations are the same.”
“From that point of view nothing has changed. From a physical point of view and preparation let’s say a lot has changed, because I’ve started preparing. I was not targeting to come back but I knew that if I would get the chance I have to be ready and F1 is a very demanding sport.”
Kubica’s journey started with a low key test in a 2012 Formula 1 car, but since then escalated to a full day of official testing at Hungaroring recently, where he sampled the modern era cars. Despite the disability in his arm, as a result of his freak rally accident in 2011, Kubica impressed with the mileage covered and his speed on the day.
He recalled, “The current cars are even more demanding than previous cars, those cars are the fastest cars of the last 20 years. In the end they are even heavier, and this is the biggest difference and probably no-one is talking about it because they got used to it because every year or every two years there was minimum weight increments.
“When I last time drove the car the minimum weight was 620KG, to have 100KG [extra] bringing around the track, it makes a big difference. So there were quite big changes for me from what I knew and what I learned in the past so there was a lot of things to learn. But from physical point of view, inside the car it is much better than it looks outside the car. That’s what’s most important.”
Renault, who have given Kubica this opportunity, are reluctant to commit to any plan for the future and have in fact downplayed the entire project. But there is an element in the paddock that believes they will relent and give Kubica another crack.
Kubica acknowledged, “Nothing is impossible. Of course I have been the last six years through different periods and stages of my life mainly dedicated to my physical issues and injuries, then of course there was a lot going on in my head, which is normal I think.
“My approach was very simple, anything can happen. If we see where I was four months ago compared to where I am now it is a big change and it happened very quickly.”
“I think if in three months I did improve a lot and moved forward quite a lot, everything can happen in the future but we have to be realistic, nothing will be easy. For sure, my target is to get the kind of role in F1. If I can and if I will have a chance I don’t know.”
“One thing is sure, if it doesn’t happen, I will not be disappointed because I am looking at this chance, this situation very, very realistically,” added Kubica.
Big Question: How realistic is the chance of Robert returning to Formula 1?