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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.”

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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