Kurt Verlin

Robert Kubica Drives F1 Car Again Six Years After Rally Crash

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Robert Kubica in the 2012 Lotus F1

Robert Kubica, once one of the most admired racers on the Formula One grid, drove an F1 car for the first time yesterday since his horror crash in early 2011 at the Ronde di Andora rally.

The crash had partially severed his right forearm and though Kubica had been determined to return to the sport he loved, he never recovered enough to meet the demands of the physically-intensive F1 cars.

After spending more years rallying, however, it seems Kubica never lost the F1 bug. He tested several single-seater open-wheel racecars this year, including a Formula E car at Donington and a GP3 car at Franciacorta, the latter track featuring two tight hairpins that require a lot of steering lock—something Kubica’s arm formerly made difficult but which he was delighted to find was no longer a problem.

The Polish driver had maintained a close relationship with the Renault Enstone team (known as Lotus F1 from 2009 to 2014), who yesterday allowed him to test their 2012 F1 car around the Valencia circuit in Spain.


According to the French newspaper L’Equipe, Kubica completed 115 laps, including a full race simulation run, while setting a quicker lap time than Sergei Sirotkin, Renault’s reserve driver.

It seems therefore that Kubica may be fit enough to return to Formula One, though the physical toll of driving the 2012 Lotus would not be on par with the higher-downforce 2017 cars.

Still, there may be good reason to anticipate a comeback. Robert Kubica was once believed to be a future world champion. He won BMW Sauber’s only race at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix; according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, had Kubica driven the 2012 Lotus during the actual 2012 season, he would have won the title; and he had been slated to join Ferrari in 2013 alongside Fernando Alonso, who had dubbed him “the best of us.”

There may even be an opportunity to get into a Formula One seat this year, as one of the Renault drivers, Jolyon Palmer, didn’t really show any signs of brilliance in his rookie season last year and has been significantly underperforming in 2017, to the point that keeping him may prove to be a liability in the championship battle.


Source: L’Equipe (French language)