Robert Kubica was left with “mixed feelings” following his first Formula 1 test in over six years on Tuesday, saying: “It shows what I have lost.”
Kubica was one of F1’s rising stars before suffering severe injuries to his right arm and hand in a rally accident through the 2011 off-season, bringing his single-seater career to a halt.
Kubica made his racing return in rallying in 2012 and spent a number of years entering occasional events in the World Rally Championship, but has recently been testing a number of single-seater cars.
After runs in GP3 and Formula E machinery, Kubica completed 115 laps behind the wheel of a Lotus-Renault E20 in Valencia on Tuesday, with the Pole sharing his thoughts after the test.
“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,” Kubica said.
“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 F1 sporting director Alan Permane was pleased to afford Kubica the opportunity, but said that it would be a “one-off event”.
“It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car,” Permane said. “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.”