Six years after a rally crash nearly killed him, former Formula One driver Robert Kubica got back in a car with the Renault F1 team this summer. Kubica held a good pace during the test session, and the team’s director even said they were looking at a potential return to competition. But reality seems to have hit.
The test Kubica participated in was at the Hungaroring in the days following the Hungarian Grand Prix, a session that Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said was to “determine in what conditions it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years.” Kubica seemed to have gotten on board with that at first, as ESPN reports that he got 2016 F1 champion and now-retired driver Nico Rosberg to help him with his comeback.
But Kubica, 31-years-old, hasn’t raced in F1 since 2011 and isn’t as confident in his remarkable comeback run as we all might have hoped.
Kubica had been out of F1 for so long due to the crash that he hadn’t competed in the modern race car, the V6 turbo that was introduced in 2014, going into the test. The Feb. 6, 2011 rally crash happened when Kubica was one of F1’s future stars racing on the Renault team, with The Guardian questioning the future of “one of the most promising” drivers in F1 at the time.
A guardrail pierced Kubica’s rally car, where he was stuck for more than an hour before being extracted. It took seven hours of surgery to save the use of his right hand, and he had various leg and arm fractures as well. Here’s how he described the aftermath.
It’s sad to hear that the comeback story we all hoped for doesn’t have much hope left. But if driving an F1 car outside of full-time competition is enough of a comeback for Kubica, maybe it should be for us, too.