Robert Kubica made his return to Motorsport earlier this month by empathically winning the Ronde Gomitolo di Lana rally. He was fastest on all it’s four stages.
It was with a heavy heart I wrote about Kubica’s accident. I vividly remember my emotions when I was first informed about it via Twitter. The more I learnt about it, the worse I felt. The details were grim; he was trapped in the car for hours with significant blood loss. It’s no exaggeration to say the biggest threat to Kubica then wasn’t the inability to come back to F1, it was his life itself. Amputation was a serious possibility. But Robert fought, underwent multiple surgies and is back behind the wheels of a car.
Thanks to the breath of talent & remarkable bunch of individuals that our sport is blessed with, it’s relatively easy for me to stay impartial. Yet I can honestly say I’ve never been as swayed by any world champion as much as I have by Robert. He was a fighter that competed at the sharp end with thoroughly midfield cars. The video below from Singapore 2010 (which I highly recommend you watch) will give you a small glimpse of his remarkable talent. He rips through the field in an era unaided by DRS or Pirelli tyres in one of the hardest tracks for overtaking. I was and still am a Kubica fan.
Make no mistake, it’s still a very tall order for Robert to make a comeback to Formula One. F1 cars demand remarkable dexterity to pilot, not least due to the ever increasing number of steering wheel controls. You need to feel, sense fine moments and react instantaneously to changes in grip or position. They’re a whole different breed to rally cars. However, let’s gain some perspective and appreciate how much of a quantum leap winning in a rally car is compared to the initial aftermath of his accident!
What Robert has shown is immense mental and physical strength. It’s not easy to undergo multiple surgeries. It’s not easy to see other drivers gain podiums in the car you set fastest laps in. It must be unimaginable mental agony to know you were one or two years away from driving for Ferrari, from being alongside your best friend in the paddock, from together fighting for the championship, in a car your talent deserves. Yet Kubica’s held strong and has fought his way back into a rally car.
Here’s my idealistic, fairytale scenario for my favourite driver:
Current regulations allow drivers to indeterminately test cars if three or more technical regulation changes older. Ferrari possess a private test track and unparalleled infrastructure to enable his comeback. In 2013, I want to see Robert constantly running the Ferrari F10 of 2010 at Fiorano where he can steadily regain his ability behind the wheel. He can also utilise Ferrari’s world class simulator to familiarise himself with DRS & KERS. In 2014, if all goes well, I want to see him give Massa a run for his money for the race seat.
It’s a scenario shared by David Croft of SkySports, one that I’ll be absolutely ecstatic to see come true.
@literalf1 I don’t think Sergio will be at Ferrari next year, they’re still keen on Robert Kubica and will give him everychance to come back— David Croft (@CroftyF1) September 17, 2012
The support shown by Formula One fans has been amazing & touching. Every single grand prix there are fans holding banners calling him back. Clearly, Robert resonated with the fans without ever searching for the limelight or stardom. He let his driving do the talking. We miss you Robert.