Kubica admits no chance of imminent F1 return
11 December 2012
Robert Kubica has conceded that the chances of him returning to the cockpit of an F1 car in the near future current stand at zero, ruling him out of the still evolving 2013 driver market.
The Pole was seriously injured in an accident in early 2011, breaking his right arm and leg after his Skoda was speared by a barrier during the Ronde di Andora rally. After losing a year of his career to successive operations – which ultimately succeeded in saving his arm – Kubica then suffered a fall on ice at his home, re-breaking his leg and extending his recovery period.
Despite the second leg injury, however, it is the former Canadian Grand Prix winner's arm that continues to cast doubts over his ability to return to F1, with Kubica unable to bend his elbow sufficiently to work within the confines of a single-seater cockpit.
"I was hoping that I'd be back behind the wheel of an F1 car soon, but it didn't work out," the 28-year old told Autoweek magazine, "The main problem is the mobility of my elbow and wrist. I had several operations that were meant to improve this issue, but there's not been a spectacular improvement. I still find it difficult to move my right arm.
"If I can move my arm again, there is a chance that I will return [to F1] but, until that happens, we'll have to see. There's no chance of me coming back to F1 soon."
While Kubica's name has been bandied about as a potential replacement for Lotus' Romain Grosjean as early as next season, and possibly Felipe Massa at Ferrari in 2014, the Pole has managed to sate his appetite for competition by returning, successfully, to rallying, and could prove to have a future in that branch of motorsport, where cockpit room is not an issue.
"I don't know, but I will make a decision very soon," he admitted, revealing that similarly roomy touring or sportscars could provide an alternative option for track competition, "We're talking with people at the moment, and everything will be decided by the end of the year."
Having won regional rallies in a privately-run Subaru, Kubica was offered the chance to run a works Citroen C4 WRC on a couple of end-of-season events, and the French manufacturer has made no secret of its interest in working further with the Pole.
Team boss Yves Matton applauded Kubica's victory on the Rally di Como, which was followed by a dominant, if ultimately unsuccessful, run on the Rallye du Var.
“Although the experience didn't turn out quite as we had all hoped, we are happy to have supported Robert Kubica in his return to rallying,” he said, “He is an engaging character and we hope that we'll have other opportunities to see him drive a Citroen.”
However, Kubica admits that, if he chooses rallying, he would want to give it a concerted effort, rather than just filling time before a potential F1 return.
"I don't want to spend a year in the world rally championship only to find out in November next year that I have no idea what I'm doing in 2014," he explained, "If I choose rallying, it needs to be a long-term programme that allows me to learn.”
Kubica acknowledges that he is no longer, physically, the same driver that he was before his accident – which came after several promising tests in the 2011 Lotus Renault F1 car – but remains optimistic that he can be competitive in whatever arena he chooses for his full-time return.
“When I got back behind the wheel last year and realised that my speed remains the same, that's when it all started,” he conceded, “I find it quite hard to watch F1 on TV - when I'm at home on a Sunday evening after an F1 race, I think I'm living a boring and monotonous life.
“On the other hand, you cannot get everything you desire out of life. I'm happy about where I am today. I need to keep working, keep fighting. I'm getting better, but you need a lot of time to fully recover from something like this. I can't do what I did in F1 before the accident, so I must choose a new direction and make the next step in my career.”