Polish driver Robert Kubica returned to the cockpit of a Formula One car for the first time in six years on Tuesday as he completed 115 laps of the Valencia circuit in the Enstone outfit’s 2012 spec E20 chassis.
Kubica was seriously injured in a rally crash in February 2011 which ended his time in Formula One and the last time he drove a Formula One car was in 2011 during pre-season testing with Renault in the RS31.
Speaking following the test he commented by saying:
“I would like to thank everybody for making this possible, I hope it was a good day for everyone and maybe they saw something of my old, 2010 self. For me, it has been an important day from an emotional point of view. It has been a long time away from the paddock and I have been through difficult periods, I kept working hard and a few years ago I felt it was impossible. I have mixed feelings, I am proud with what I achieved today, but also it shows what I have lost. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know one thing, after working for more than one year to prepare for this, I ran with good pace and consistent in difficult conditions. It is not easy after six years, but I knew I could do the job and I can be satisfied. I appreciate the opportunity. Renault gave me my first F1 test in 2005, so I appreciate another test this time around.”
Renault Sport F1 Team Sporting Director Alan Permane commented by saying:
“It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car. It was a smooth day. We tried to condense a Grand Prix weekend into one day, which was interesting for him. Robert has changed a little, he is more mellow and he wasn’t as pushy when asking for every detail about the set-up of the car! His comments and feedback, however, were like turning the clock back for all of us. It is a tricky thing to jump into an F1 car after six years and it was a great performance from him. This was a one-off event for Robert. His time with Renault was cut short so abruptly and we perceived such a nice future with him. The team was in Valencia testing with Sergey Sirotkin, so it was the perfect opportunity to offer Robert a day in the car and contribute in our way to his recovery.