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Robert Kubica admits F1 comeback chances are ‘very slight’

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Robert Kubica has conceded his chances of making a full-time return to Formula 1 are “very slight” despite enjoying three test appearances with Renault this year and being linked with a drive at Williams for 2017.

Kubica raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, claiming one grand prix victory in Canada in 2008, only to have his single-seater career put on hold after suffering severe injuries to his right arm and hand in a rally accident before the 2011 season.

The Pole returned to motorsport in rallying before embarking on a number of private single-seater tests to judge his capabilities, leading to two private F1 tests with Renault and ultimately an appearance in the collective test following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Kubica put in an impressive display, but Renault admitted there were still question marks regarding his capabilities behind the wheel, with the team eventually signing Carlos Sainz Jr. to race alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2018.

Kubica has reportedly been targeted by Williams as an option for 2018, but he admitted in an interview with the FIA’s AUTO magazine that his chances of coming back full-time were very slim.

“I am very realistic and I know that the possibility of me returning full-time to racing in Formula 1 is very slight,” Kubica said.

“Every day I discover my new limits, but I always hoped I’d at least get the chance to give it a go. I’ve done a lot of kilometers in the simulator and I’ve driven in other categories, but I knew only driving a Formula 1 car would give me those special feelings again, and it proved to be true.

“The 6th of June, the day I drove at Valencia, was one of the best days of my life, even if I didn’t win anything or stand on the podium.

“It only took me a few laps to get some amazing feelings, which made me realize why I love this sport so much. I don’t get emotional easily but that day I really did.

“I realized that driving a Formula 1 car was the thing that made me happy and I finally felt at peace.”

F1 2017 driver review: Kevin Magnussen

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Kevin Magnussen

Team: Haas
Car No.: 20
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P7 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 19
Championship Position: 14th

Kevin Magnussen’s move to Haas proved to be a win-win situation for both parties through 2017 as they banished the struggles of the previous Formula 1 season.

For Magnussen, the move came after a difficult one-season stint with Renault who despite offering him a way back into F1 after a year on the sidelines were unable to produce a car allowing the Dane to fight far up the order.

Haas had not expected to be able to be that much further ahead, but Magnussen nevertheless immediately offered an uplift in performance after replacing Esteban Gutierrez, who failed to score a single point through 2016.

Magnussen picked up Haas’ first points of the season with a solid drive in China, and was able to capitalize on the bonkers Baku race to take P7, which would ultimately be his best result of the season.

Consistency was a real issue for Haas throughout the year as it continued to have teething problems most new teams encounter, and while Magnussen was more able to drive around the problems than teammate Romain Grosjean, he lacked the ultimate pace of his teammate.

That said, Magnussen’s season highlight came in Mexico, a track Haas expected to be its worst of the season. The ex-McLaren driver qualified on the last row but produced a stunning display to finish eighth, soaking up pressure from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton late on.

The signs are positive moving forward. Next year should be Haas’ best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations, presenting a good opportunity for Magnussen to prove his star quality.

Season High: Taking P8 in Mexico when Haas expected to be slowest.

Season Low: Lagging home P15 at Spa as Grosjean hit the points.