By Ian Parkes
It has not been the fairy-tale return to Formula One that Robert Kubica had hoped for.
“A few years ago no one would have put 1 euro on my comeback,” he said in an interview early this month.
Kubica drove in Formula One from 2006 to 2010. While competing in the Ronde di Andora rally in 2011, he sustained compound fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg, and his right forearm was partly severed when his car was impaled on a guardrail.
“I’ve had to rebuild my life from zero,” he said in March as he prepared to return to Formula One with Williams. He will drive for the final time Sunday in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In September he said he would not remain with the team in 2020.
“It has been a complicated year,” said Kubica, who is from Poland. “But there are many positives, which will remain in my brain, my memory, things which you probably haven’t seen because, as race drivers, it is all about results.
“To me, these things are probably even more important than simple results.”
Williams struggled on the track this season as its cars failed to perform. The team has scored 1 point, when Kubica placed 10th in the German Grand Prix in July.
“You have to be disappointed,” Kubica, 34, said. “If you are not, you are not living the reality, or, at least, you don’t have goals which are high enough.
“Nobody at Williams, working at the racetrack and in the factory, and also myself, are happy about our season. It is not the season we all were hoping for. It’s not the season I was hoping for.”
Williams missed the first two days of preseason testing because of delays in the build of the car. The difficult season has continued, with Kubica and his teammate, George Russell of England, consistently qualifying at the back of the grid.
Kubica, whose right forearm has atrophied, has shown he can 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,” Kubica said.
“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.”
Kubica’s prowess at working with the engineers to help develop a car was one reason Williams promoted him to a race seat after he worked as reserve driver in 2018.
This year, he has been outqualified by Russell at all 20 races.
“I’m really pleased Williams gave him the opportunity to come back because he had fought hard for many years after his accident to be able to do that,” said Claire Williams, deputy team principal, in an interview.
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