Robert Kubica returned to F1 in 2019 after his big rally crash in the 2011 Ronde di Andora rally, which led him to be out of the sport for eight years. He had compound fractures to his right elbow, shoulder, and leg. His right forearm was partly severed when his car was impaled on a guardrail. Before that he drove in F1 from 2006 to 2010, finally making his return in 2019, driving for Williams.
It was a miracle he even got back to racing. Still, it wasn’t all glamour and fame for the 35-year old Polish driver. Quite the opposite – it was a very hard return. He couldn’t compete with rival teams and struggled at the back of the field for the entire season. To worsen the already bad situation, George Russell – a teammate of Kubica in Williams – was ahead of Kubica in every qualifying session throughout the season.
Kubica: “No regrets over F1 return”
“The season was long, I’m not saying anything new in that it was quite demanding and under our expectations,” Kubica said.
“But that’s how it is. “It’s been a tough season, not only for the drivers but also the guys that have been working at the track. It’s still good to see how the team stayed motivated, and how the guys kept working really hard.”
“But regarding the season, there is not a lot to say. Everything has been said already through the year, so there’s not a lot to comment on.”
However, the Polish driver does not regret his return to F1, despite all the difficulties he’s encountered. He admits that passion, and the mission he had to achieve his goals, was the main reason behind his return.
“I do not regret it. I spent last year with the team and I knew it would be not easy,” the 35-year old driver said.
“Of course, we did face some more issues than last year, especially at the beginning of the year which was very unfortunate. I think we kept paying a bill for a very long [time], longer than people think. My goal when I stopped rallying was to come back to the highest motorsport category on track, which I would be able to race.”
“From a human point of view, this has been a great achievement. As a race driver, the season has been very tough. But the decision was made by passion, by trying to achieve a goal and the mission I had. The outcome is not what everyone was hoping, but that’s life, that’s motorsport, that’s F1.”
What does the future hold for Kubica?
The driver’s right forearm has atrophied as a result of the 2011 incident, but he’s shown that he can still drive at the highest level.
“When I speak of the positives from this season, there was a lot of talk, a lot of questions or remarks about my physical aspect, about my limitations. I think those have completely disappeared. This is an achievement for me because people were looking at my situation, judging, putting doubts on me. But no one mentions my limitations anymore.”
While Kubica will no longer compete for Williams, it’s thought that he would prefer to race rather than be a development driver with another team. He is yet to announced what his plans are, but it’s certain that he wouldn’t be able to drive in F1 next season because all the seats are already taken.
Fellow F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg appears to be in the same situation. The German, who has nine seasons of racing, with 176 starts, is without a seat for next year, because Renault announced in August that he would be replaced in 2020 by Esteban Ocon.