Polish driver Robert Kubica was back in an F1 car after 6 years away under a (relative) veil of secrecy in Spain yesterday – his first time since a 2011 rallying accident almost ended his talented driving career by partially severing his arm.He has previously stated that he never expected to get back behind the wheel of an F1 car due to the resulting physical limitations, certainly with circuits with tight corners such as Monaco.
“In touring cars and rally cars, I can compensate with my shoulder but in F1, the space in the cockpits is too tight, too narrow” “I have no rotation of my wrist and my forearm.
It is therefore no surprise that Renault took this test in private, perhaps without the hawk eyes watching and writing him of with every twitch or missed apex.
The car was a 2012 Lotus E20, and things have moved on a lot since then but this car was still produced a full two years after Kubica left the sport.
Renault were quoted: “So why did we keep it quiet? It was a private test, for Robert,” the team said, adding that the Pole had completed 115 laps with “the biggest smile” afterwards.
Quotes courtesy of Reuters LONDON, June 6
Reflecting on the test Kubica said:
“For me, it has been an important day from an emotional point of view,” said Kubica.
“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.”
“It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car. It was a smooth day,” said.
“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.”
“So guys…we need to come clean about something,” the caption said.