Robert Kubica says that he has no fears over his Formula 1 return next year, as he readies himself to take part in his first Grand Prix in eight years. The Pole was confirmed at the season concluding Abu Dhabi GP as Williams' second driver alongside George Russell.
After four full seasons in F1 from 2007 to 2010 (and having made his debut towards the end of 2006), Kubica was forced to pull out of the 2011 campaign after a rally crash left him with life-threatening injuries. In 2017, he began his comeback by testing for Renault, before he became Williams' 2018 development and reserve driver.
And now as he prepares for his first F1 race seat role in eight years, the 33-year-old says he will be more than prepared: “Of course from one side I have quite a lot of experience from racing, especially in Formula 1, as I did five seasons,” said Kubica.
“For sure I know what it takes to be a top F1 driver so I am not scared of it and I know it requires a lot of work and dedication and I am ready for it. From a technical point of view, driving point of view, we have winter testing, so by the time we get to Australia that is enough time to be ready.
“In 2019 we will all start from zero so I am not afraid that I have been away for eight years. I am looking forward and I know what it takes and what I have to do. If I do my job well I am sure everybody will be happy,” Kubica added.
After his 2010 accident at the Ronde di Andora rally, part of Kubica's forearm had to be amputated. His steering wheel has been modified to be comfortable for him, and he admits he understands why people doubted his ability to return.
“As you can hear, and I heard it for many years, people struggled to believe that I could do it,” he said. “All team managers, all team principals, if I [was] a team principal I would also have doubts.
“But that’s the reason why I said this year has been very useful because my first - the first meeting [with Claire Williams] I remember when we met I said that if you have any doubts we shouldn’t be doing it. First of all, I have to be sure I can do it, and that’s why I’m here.
“But second of all, all the team has to be convinced that I’m able to do the job. I think, we talked a lot about driving but I think I can give a lot to the team away from the car, and in the position I think the team is, we will gain much more also on work away of the car than only by driving.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing