Renault Sport

Kubica puts F1 comeback chances at ’80 to 90 per cent’

1 Comment

Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica says his chances of a comeback are at “80 to 90 per cent” after enjoying a successful test with Renault as part of his long-running comeback from injury.

Kubica raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, taking one grand prix victory, but was forced to quit ahead of the 2011 season after suffering severe injuries to his right arm and hand in a rally accident.

Kubica made his motorsport comeback in rallying, racing in the FIA World Rally Championship before returning to circuit racing last year with a handful of one-off events.

The Pole has recently tested a number of single-seater cars, culminating in half a day’s running at Valencia with Renault in a 2012 F1 car.

Speaking to Auto Express following a showrun in a Renault F1 car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Kubica said that he felt comfortable behind the wheel once again, allaying any fears he had about his capability.

“My first target was to see if I could be capable of doing it. So this is more or less done,” Kubica said.

“Second, let’s say, realistically talking, is raising the game slowly and step by step. F1 is a tough competition and I have been away from racing a long time.

“I think most of the question marks I had are gone, and I’m very comfortable with it. Actually it was a huge relief for me because this test would have been a case of ‘yes, I can do this’ or ‘no, I have to close the door on F1 forever’.

“I know it seems strange because I was away for a very long time and I kept quiet, but I never said that I’d never be back. Because I knew that there is a chance for me.

“I always said it would be very difficult. But Valencia showed, in fact, that it’s not really as difficult as I thought. It’s more possible than I ever thought. It’s a good feeling and I’m happy that I have this day done.”

When asked about his chances of making a full-time comeback racing in F1, Kubica said that the test had changed his perspective completely, giving himself strong odds to do so.

“If you asked me how much I was realistically thinking that coming back to F1 was possible, I would have put myself up to 10 or maximum 20 per cent chance,” Kubica said.

“The clock is running, not just the classification, but also getting older. F1 is going so fast that some people forget. Not everyone, but some.

“Because I’m very realistic, and I’m keeping my feet on the ground, I’d [now] put it at 80 or 90 per cent.”

Kubica is set to enjoy a second private test with Renault in the near future, making him a player in the evolving driver market for F1 in 2018.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.