Robert Kubica may be about to embark on his biggest rally campaign to date, but admits that he still hankers after a return to F1.
The Pole's dream of grand prix greatness was shattered by an accident on the Ronde di Andora rally back in 2011, which left with serious injuries to his right arm and leg, and even threatened him with amputation. While multiple surgeries averted that fate, Kubica was left with limited movement from his injured arm and, while driving rally and touring cars has since proven possible, the idea of working within the confines of a single-seater cockpit remains unworkable.
Despite that, Kubica insists that he has not given up on the thought of returning to F1, where he was topping testing times with Renault immediately prior to his accident.
“I would prefer to still be an F1 driver, but my passion has led me to this programme and this is my focus - although I cannot say how long for,” he said of his ERC and WRC plans, “In some way, I still hope to come back to where I was, that's definite. It's a bit strange because I'm coming from F1 and suddenly what was all my life stopped in one second. Now I know, I knew it always, but now I appreciate more that there's nothing better in life than doing what you want to do. I had a great opportunity to be an F1 driver but, on the other hand, I have a great opportunity to become a rally driver with a very good programme.”
Despite testing, and lapping competitively, with Mercedes' DTM squad in Valencia last month, Kubica focused on his rallying career for 2013, having enjoyed a handful of successful outings on local events towards the end of last year. Presented with choice of Ford and Citroen packages, he opted for the reigning world champion marque and a combined ERC/WRC2 programme.
“One-and-a-half years ago, if somebody told me I would be announcing a big programme with Lotos, Citroen and Michelin in the European championship and WRC, I would not believe it,” the former Canadian GP winner admitted, “Normally, I'm not an excited guy but, when I am at the start of the stage, it will be a huge excitement, particularly for the first rally in Canarias because it's the first high-level challenge for me after the crash.
“I can do a good job and provide excitement. Maybe not straight away results, but somehow I can give something back to the people who have supported me.”