Williams’ Robert Kubica is particularly pleased that he was able to make a return into F1 after his injuries and prove that he could drive the modern cars as well.
Kubica is likely to finish 19th in the F1 drivers’ championship at the end of the 2019 season – a crushing reality for a driver, who once fought for podiums, one would think. The Polish driver, though, believes otherwise, especially due to the injury he carries.
The first journey of his career ended in a horrific rally crash and his range of motion was limited by the incident. As a bi-product, he had to pause his racing career to focus on his health, but he took a gradual step to make a return albeit in other categories.
By this time last year, Kubica was given a fresh lifeline and thus began his second attempt at F1 as he was announced as a full-time driver for Williams alongside George Russell. Despite the signing, it wasn’t all-plain sailing for the Polish driver.
Many were skeptical due to his aforementioned restricted motion and some even suggested that he would be inept at circuits like Monaco, or through Turn 1 at race starts, when racing in close proximity as the reaction time will be a lot less.
However, throughout the 2019 F1 season, very few of these sorts of incidents actually took place, and it’s for this reason that Kubica prides himself on his 2019 efforts. The Polish driver also felt that the better picture of the season was hidden for various reasons.
“I think the general picture is massively hidden by what we went through this season and many things did not help and actually did influence in a negative way what I was able to do,” said Kubica to the media ahead of the Brazil GP weekend.
“But coming back to a competition sport, as F1 is, on the highest level of motorsport, after a long time and with my limitations a lot of people did not even think I would be able to race. I heard many stories that in Turn 1 that will not be able to react to situations.
“But probably the opening lap is one of the things, which I managed well this season. I heard rumours that I would not be able to race in Monaco, and probably Monaco was one of my best drives during this year, although I was still far behind.
“But feeling-wise it was positive. I’m leaving this season, of course not happy with the general performance, but pretty happy with how my body, my mind and my brain reacted to the difficult challenge I had this year.”
On a less personal level, Kubica credited Williams’ hard work and wished them farewell, as he prepares to leave the Grove-based team after the Abu Dhabi GP outing. “It’s definitely not the easiest season and not the season we were hoping for,” he said.
“I think every member of Williams is not happy with what we have seen this year. The team is working hard but it is not an easy season. There are many things which we could probably handle better.
“But there are also things which I think that although the season has been difficult we have handled in a good way. I think the guys on track always did a very good job with what we have, especially in the beginning of the season it wasn’t easy and the group stayed strong, united and very, very positive, which is good to see in such a difficult period.
“But, it’s the kind of situation where the people on track they cannot make your car going one second faster. They can make you car going slower, but not faster. And definitely we need to improve what we get, the pace of the car, and then everything will become easier.
“And also for the guys on track the work will be more easier; more fun. Of course this will not happen with me, as I’m leaving Williams, but I hope this team will improve their situation for the future, especially because the guys they deserve it.
“They are really good people and they are working hard, so I hope good times, or better times, will arrive soon for Williams.” Speaking about his own future, Kubica said he is taking time to finalise, with first priority on a racing programme.
He has been linked to DTM in terms of racing so far but there could be opportunities in WEC as well. Staying with F1, he has an offer to join Haas ina F1 test role but there is interest from Racing Point as well.
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The story was written by Duncan Leahy edited by Darshan Chokhani