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

Renault Sport
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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.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”