Polish racing driver Robert Kubica still hasn’t given up his dream of returning to Formula One after a rally crash in February 2011 almost killed him. Now Renault is giving Kubica a chance to test a 2017 Formula One car in Hungary, Sky Sports reports. After this test, the team says they’ll know what it would take for Kubica to come back to F1.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Sky Sports:
The first two days of testing allowed both Robert and ourselves to gather a great amount of information.
The upcoming session with the R.S.17 at the Hungaroring will allow us all to obtain detailed and precise data in a current car and representative conditions.
After this test, we will carefully analyze the collected information to determine in what conditions it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years.
Kubica will get his first drive in Renault’s current-spec F1 car on August 1 and 2 at the Hungaroring, after this weekend’s Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix. Upcoming DAMS Formula 2 driver Nicholas Latifi will test the car alongside Kubica.
Renault considers Kubica to be an option for a full-time seat in 2018, pending more successful tests in the car. If that happens, it will be one of the most incredible comeback stories in modern motorsport.
Kubica, who was widely seen as a future F1 world champion before his injury, spent 20 months in and out of various hospitals after his Skoda Fabia rally car was impaled by a guard rail at high speed at the 2011 Ronde di Andorra Rally. The crash nearly severed his right arm, which was left with limited mobility.
But he didn’t give up on motorsport. He came back to rally in 2012, winning all four stages of the first rally he entered. Kubica kept entering rallies and working on his strength, too, with the eventual intention of making his way back into F1. Now, he finally feels like he’s ready.
This year, Renault gave him the chance to drive their 2012-spec E20 Formula One car in two tests, where he’s taken to it incredibly well. Kubica completed a total of 115 laps at Valencia and 90 laps at Paul Ricard. Additionally, Kubica drove the E20 up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
2017 F1 cars are much different than 2012's, with a hybrid V6 turbo in place of the 2012-spec V8 engine and significantly more downforce. To say that it will be exciting to see how Kubica fares in modern machinery would be an extreme understatement.