Robert Kubica has expressed his doubts about a return to Formula 1, after speculation about a drive with Williams for 2018 and beyond becoming a distinct possibility.
Kubica, who drove for BMW and Renault in 76 races between 2006 and 2010, saw his career and life come under severe threat due to a colossal rallying accident after a promising winter testing period with Lotus Renault in 2011.
In June, the Pole tested a Formula 1 car for the first time in six years at Valencia, courtesy of Renault, before taking part in official tests at the Hungaroring in 2017 machinery in early August, an event that sparked rumours about a potential comeback with the Enstone team.
However, Renault have opted for Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz to partner Nico Hülkenberg for 2018.
Speaking to Polish website Przeglad Sportowy, Kubica saw the positives in the tests.
“I think the whole adventure with Renault should be judged positively,” the 32-year-old said.
“I have had the opportunity to drive in three tests, including the last official one in Hungary and for that I have to be grateful.”
“First and foremost, after six years I had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of Formula One car.”
“These were very productive months in terms of answering my questions or doubts about my limitations. I was wondering if I could drive an F1 car and still be able to do it right. All of these answers were positive.”
Even though the door with Renault has been closed, Kubica has continued to search for other avenues, but insists he doesn’t take notice of the various rumours that have been swirling around in the recent past, and says that there’s been more going on that has been reported.
“We’re simply working and trying to find the best solution for me for the next year. We’re trying to do it clinically and with calmness. We’ll see what the work brings us.”
“People who make these decisions probably don’t read people’s and websites’ fabrications and speculations. Some of these ‘inventions’ meet my ear but it’s just a part of this game.”
“It’s normal when there isn’t much information but there’s so much speculation that when writing articles everyone’s trying to make some analysis that shouldn’t be a thing,” before adding. “That’s pointless. Everyone has their job to do, though. Media do their job, I do mine.”
The most likely suitor is Williams, with Felipe Massa expected to leave Formula 1 on a more permanent basis this time around, but there are reports that Williams backer Lawrence Stroll isn’t keen on Kubica partnering his son, Lance – instead favouring Massa or current reserve driver, Paul di Resta. Pascal Wehrlein was on the radar due to his Mercedes connections, yet would leave the team without a driver aged 25 or over, not allowed because of main sponsorship coming from alcohol giants Martini.
Rumours arose about a test with the Grove outfit in 2014-spec machinery after the Singapore Grand Prix at Suzuka, a day after Stroll Jnr. But this was halted by a lack of funding and an unwillingness from Stroll Snr, contra to clear interest from the Williams team.
Kubica is adamant that his main sponsor Olimp did not pay for his Renault excursions.
“There were rumours that Olimp had paid for these tests, and that was not true,” the one-time Grand Prix winner stated.
“My future does not depend on what my sponsors or partners will do in the coming months. Teams are not interested in me, because of the sponsors, I cannot afford to pay for a test day.”
“Lotos used to be my big partner and thanks to our cooperation I was able to develop as a rally driver, but as far as Formula 1 and track racing is concerned it’s only journalists’ inventions.”
It has been reported that Williams are still eager to hold a test in Europe with Kubica, with the Pole looking for funding in order to make it a reality.