Robert Kubica insists he will only return to Formula One if he has the ability to do so at the very highest level, saying the good news story surrounding his comeback would count for nothing without on-track results to back it up.
Kubica tested for Williams in Abu Dhabi this week as part of an ongoing assessment of his ability by the team. He is in the running for Williams’ second 2018 race seat alongside Lance Stroll, but senior staff are remaining tight lipped about his chances.
The 32-year-old Polish driver last raced in F1 in 2010 before sustaining severe arm injuries in a rallying accident ahead of the 2011 season. The recent test in Abu Dhabi boosted Kubica’s confidence over a possible return, but he has reiterated that he only wants to race in F1 again if he can compete at the highest level.
“A lot of things were written and talked about lately,” he said in Abu Dhabi. “I think that’s normal because there are a lot of question marks and everybody has their own opinion. I think there are a lot of people who want to see me back because of the story. The story is nice but in the end there are no discounts for the story, so in the end I have to make sure if I get the chance I am ready and I have to be as best prepared as I can if something comes up.
“I appreciate it [the support] because I think there’s a lot of hope and a lot of wishes of a lot of people, but in the end I know how reality is. The reality is that once I’m in the car there is no story anymore, I have to be myself with the car and with the team and the job has to be done.
“First of all I have to be sure that I am able to do it and for sure every day is giving me quite a lot of confidence that things can work out pretty well. For my standards to be met it pretty much means I have to drive at a high level.
“If I’m coming back I’m not just here to make up the numbers. Although I’ve been away for seven years, with my limitations I have to be sure that I am able to provide my best possibilities and be the best Robert Kubica which I know.”
Comparisons have been made to Niki Lauda who suffered severe burns in an accident at the Nurburgring in 1976 and returned to the cockpit just six weeks later to finish a close second to James Hunt in that year’s championship. Lauda later took two year’s away from the sport in 1980 and 1981 before returning in 1982 and securing his third world title in 1984.
Asked if Lauda was an inspiration, Kubica added: “Yes and no.
“Everybody has their own life and their own situations. I think from one side it’s correct to compare it and from the other side I’m not saying it’s bad to compare but it’s just a different story.
“Although Niki has a different story to mine, both stories were quite special. F1 is a special world but once you put on the helmet everything disappears and you have to be in a position to deliver.”