Kubica confirms test interest
5 October 2012
Robert Kubica has revealed that he is open to opportunities to return to a race track, but admits that, with F1 doors unlikely to start opening in a hurry, any testing would have to fit around his rally schedule.
The Pole, who was badly injured in a rally smash in Italy in February 2011, has already completed a handful of events as he makes his way back into competition, but lingering doubts over the full extent of his recovery has made the F1 world wary about considering him a viable contender for a seat next season. It has been clear from his three rally outings that Kubica still does not have full use of his right arm - which underwent multiple surgical procedures in the wake of the accident on the Ronde di Andora event that saw a section of crash barrier penetrate the Pole's cockpit - but the former BMW and Renault pilot insists that he open to testing on a racetrack.
"When I think about the future, I see myself 70 per cent on the track and 30 per cent in rallies," he told Italy's Autosprint magazine, "Talking about F1 now is very premature, as I'm pretty much starting from scratch. Rallies are useful for the adrenaline and the tension, but the track requires more concentration, so I want to switch between the two."
Confirming that he is already 'planning a series of tests on tracks', Kubica may find a route back to F1 opening up at Pirelli. With current test drivers Lucas di Grassi and Jaime Alguersuari both itching to return to competition - the former in sportscars, the latter in F1 - the tyre giant could be looking for a suitably-qualified replacement, and head man Paul Hembery would not rule out offering Kubica the chance to step up.
“We are more likely to work with Robert in rallying, rather than F1, I guess, but we will see,” Hembery told Sky Sports F1 ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, “I haven't spoken to Robert for some time, but we are working on a few projects that might involve him, so [the test role] might be a possibility.
“I don't know if he is able to do it at the moment, but he is that type of person if, physically, he could get back in, maybe doing a year with us would put him in a good situation to come back in 2014. It would be wonderful if we could do that. We want to continue our success level of helping drivers into F1 and, after an F1 drive, the Pirelli test deal has to be the best drive in the world.”
Kubica's last event, the Rally Citta di Bassano, provided him with a second win under Super 2000 regulations, but pitted him against several IRC regulars warming up for the forthcoming event in San Remo. Among them, series returnee Pierre Campana finished fourth, three places behind Kubica's Subaru Impreza.