Kubica makes promising return to an F1 car at Hungary test
Robert Kubica drove a 2017-spec Renault Formula One car for the first time at the Hungaroring yesterday.
The Polish driver completed 142 laps over the course of the eight-hour test, setting a fastest lap of 1:18.572. The time was good enough for fourth in the session, and was 1.448 seconds off the fastest lap set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The 32-year-old, whose career in Formula One was seemingly cut short following a serious rally accident before the 2011 season, has been the subject of rampant return rumours in 2017.
While the idea of a comeback for the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner had been talked about for many years, it seemed like a near impossibility to almost everyone – including Kubica himself – due to the numerous serious injuries he sustained in his rally crash.
However, a test in a 2012 Lotus/Renault E20 F1 car earlier this year proved to both him and the Renault Sport F1 Team that he still has what it takes to drive a Formula One car competitively.
The announcement of his test in the 2017 car and his subsequent performance has only heightened speculation among fans and insiders alike.
— Dominika Wolczyk #44 (@mynameisdomii) August 1, 2017
Current Renault F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has had a difficult season, and while the team has not commented on his future, their interest in Kubica could be a sign that Palmer is to be replaced sooner rather than later.
‘Yes [I’m happy] but not 100% happy,’ Kubica said in a press conference. ‘The biggest difference is this car has nothing similar or the same as the cars I have been testing lately.
‘When you have so many things that are different, it normally takes a bit of time to adapt.’
Kubica also reported that he felt physically sound after the gruelling test, but remained coy on his F1 future.
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