Kubica makes promising return to an F1 car at Hungary test

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.

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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