Robert Kubica feels he is capable of returning to Formula 1 on a full-time basis after completing 115-laps of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia two weeks ago.
The Polish driver, who suffered career-threatening injuries in a rallying crash ahead of the 2011 season, drove a 2012-specification Lotus E20 in 2017 Renault colours at the Spanish circuit, with Kubica now hoping that his test is not just a one-off and that more could be in the pipeline.
“For sure it’s kind of a new start for me,” said Kubica to Sky Sports. “I don’t know what it will bring, but definitely it’s a nice feeling to know I can drive an F1 car after such a difficult period and having my limitations.
“To know I can drive the car on good pace and I can drive the car for an entire grand prix distance is something, which makes me happy and proud.
“Once I have done this test I would like to test more. It doesn’t depend only on my side, but I will keep working and hopefully one day I will have a chance to go forward and step-by-step maybe have [a] proper comeback.”
Speaking to Polish outlet Eleven Sports, Kubica said that he had no limitations in the car during the test, and that his fitness levels are at a good level to be able to make a full-time return.
“I had been working a lot on my physical condition,” said the Pole. “I have never been so fit, even in my ‘golden years’ when I was still competing in F1. For example, for the first time in my life my body weight is lower than in 2008.
“It turned out that [driving an F1 car] is not as scary and remote as it seemed to be. I can even admit that an F1 car was one of the easiest machines to drive with my limitations after my accident.
“Now I can sleep better because I know that I can drive a Formula 1 car without any limitations, I can drive quickly and consistently.”
Kubica admitted he was shocked to be as comfortable behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again after being out of action for such a long period of time.
“One of the best moments was returning to the pits after my first run when I realised that everything was under control and nothing had changed,” added Kubica.
“After the first three laps it seemed that the break had not lasted more than a month. It was a shock as I had a lot of question marks after so many years [out of action].
“I felt very confident in the cockpit. I felt at home.”