Robert Kubica, the reserve and development driver for the Williams Martini Racing, feels how he performs in the role could make or break his ambition to become a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver once more.
The Pole had been a contender for a race seat with the Grove-based but missed out on the role to Sergey Sirotkin, but accepted the reserve driver role, even though during the time it took Williams to decide on their driver line-up, at times he believed that he was going to be on the grid in 2018.
“The next seven, eight, nine months of the season can bring me closer to this [return],” said Kubica to Polish publication Przeglad Sportowy. “I don’t really know how close I was at that moment, but now it’s not important anymore.
“As a rule, I keep expectations low and I have a habit of believing in things only when they happen, but at some point I was almost convinced that I will be taking part in Australia.”
Kubica admits to being a little apprehensive about stepping into the role of reserve driver and attending races when it will not be him taking the wheel of the FW41, but he will do everything he can to maximise his chances of returning to a race seat for the first time since 2011.
“I was thinking about it and to be honest, I don’t think it will be a nice moment for me,” said Kubica. “Going to races to see other drivers are racing will not be nice, but it’s worth trying in order to come back.
“It may as well just be a part of the long journey I’ve completed so far and I’m glad I found myself at this point. I also think that there will be great moments when I’ll feel satisfaction with this role, even though I won’t compete and fight on track.
“I will do everything to have a chance again. I’m aiming to take back what life took away from me to some extent. I hope it wasn’t taken away forever.”
Kubica says he will have a ‘great challenge’ ahead of him in 2018, and even though he won’t be racing himself, helping the team progress will make him into a better driver.
“In a sense, I will also be a translator,” said Kubica. “Often engineers sit at the same table with drivers, but speak a different language.
“They look at the same things in a different way. They don’t understand what drivers’ priorities are, and drivers don’t quite understand engineers. It is because we know this sport from completely different sides.
“I have a great challenge ahead of me, I will gain access to new information and therefore I’ll be able to become a better driver. Not so much faster, but a more complete person in motorsport.”