Robert Kubica is not willing to give up on a future return to Formula One, despite acknowledging he will not be ready for a comeback for some time.
The Pole, whose right arm was almost severed in an early 2011 rallying crash, is returning to full-time action this year with a programme in the second-tier world rally championship.
But he said he would “give everything” to be able to return to his first love; circuit racing.
Kubica, 28, told the Associated Press there are “tiny lights in the tunnel suggesting that – not in a year or two – but I will be able to race in F1 at a good pace”.
Robert Kubica has been left out of Mercedes’ lineup for the German touring car series DTM in 2013.
Last month, the Pole tested one of the German marque’s cars, with Toto Wolff saying it was a “proper test in a proper race car”.
“Let’s see how it goes,” said Mercedes’ new motor racing director.
While now successful in lower-tier rallying, former Renault and BMW driver Kubica is still unable to drive a powerful single seater due to the limitations of his right arm, which was almost severed in an early 2011 rally crash.
Mercedes announced on Wednesday that it has entered six DTM cars in the 2013 series, but none of them will be raced by Kubica. Instead, Mercedes’ lineup features Ralf Schumacher, Gary Paffett, Roberto Merhi, Christian Vietoris, Robert Wickens and newcomer Daniel Juncadella. The marque said F1 driver Nico Rosberg will mentor the youngsters.
“I am looking forward to following their progress this season and can maybe give the young guns a tip or two,” he said.
Robert Kubica is not ruling out a move to the DTM series for 2013.
The Pole tested Mercedes’ touring car for the German category this week and, according to Auto Motor und Sport, was “immediately almost at the same speed as Mercedes top-dog Gary Paffett”. For now, DTM is arguably the highest category of motor racing suitable for the former BMW and Renault driver, given the limited mobility of his right arm.
“Of course I would rather be driving a formula one car,” he is quoted as saying, “but I have to take one step at a time and hope that one day I get the opportunity to sit in a F1 car again.”
After a long break from top-level competition in the wake of his 2011 rally crash, he insisted the high-downforce nature of his DTM test at Valencia was no problem.
“As long as I have enough space – and I do in a DTM car – then it’s no problem,” said Kubica.
He admitted a race seat is now a possibility.
“This was just a test to see how it feels to drive a DTM car,” said the 28-year-old. “The DTM season starts quite late, so there is a little more time. It’s definitely a possibility, but it depends on various factors. But the most important one is that my pace is right and that I feel comfortable in the car.”
Former Marussia driver Timo Glock has agreed a three-year contract to race in Germany’s DTM touring car series with BMW.
That is the claim of Sport Bild, reporting that the deal will be announced officially on Friday.
Shortly after Marussia announced it is replacing the 30-year-old with an as-yet undecided pay-driver, Glock headed to Valencia where he tested BMW’s M3 DTM car.
“The car is great,” he said. “I can finally go for wins.
“The team already feels like family to me. I’m all fired up for the season.”
The 2013 DTM season begins at Hockenheim in early May.
Former BMW and Renault driver Robert Kubica has also been in action at Valencia this week, testing Mercedes’ DTM car.
“I was able to get to grips with the car and felt very comfortable, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce,” said the Pole.
“I’m very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car.”
Meanwhile, there are reports 2012 HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan is considering a switch to the US-based Indycar series for this year.
Robert Kubica insists his dream to return to F1 is on track.
It has emerged that the former BMW and Renault driver will test Mercedes’ DTM car at Valencia this week. But Mercedes’ executive director and 30 per cent F1 team owner Toto Wolff insists that formula one is still a long way off for the veteran of 76 grands prix, who was almost killed in a rally ahead of the 2011 season.
“Kubica aims to see how he fares in the cockpit after his long break due to injury,” Mercedes said in a statement.
The 28-year-old sounds confident.
“It’s not just a dream,” he told F1 Racing magazine, when asked about the prospect of returning to formula one.
Kubica admitted the reduced mobility of his right arm makes it difficult for him to drive a single seater at present.
But “things are improving,” he insisted.
“It wasn’t like this six months ago and it wasn’t like this three months ago. And thanks to rallies and tests on the race track, slowly my condition is improving — but there is still a long way to go.”
Kubica said the biggest problem is the rotation of his arm and the limited functionality of his fingers, but he said the situation is improving “even if it’s slow”.
“I am quite sure this will be … not fixed, but not a big problem.”
Robert Kubica looks set to return to full-time competitive action in 2013.
Multiple media reports, including German’s Sport Bild and also SID news agency, claim the former BMW and Renault driver will contest the European Rally Championship (ERC) at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta.
SID said the Pole, who has still has limited use of his right arm in the wake of his February 2011 rally crash, has received clearance to enter the Fiesta with modified controls.
“It would be incredible if Robert came to the ERC,” said series chief Francois Ribeiro.
Robert Kubica will continue his push for racing fitness by stepping up to the wheel of a full world rally-spec Citroen C4 for two forthcoming minor rallies (Rally di Coma and Rallye du Var). “I can’t wait to drive a car that is as quick and has been as successful as the C4 WRC,” said the former BMW and Renault driver, who was seriously injured in a rally crash in February 2011.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh has once again fended off speculation McLaren could be set to switch engine suppliers, amid rumours the British marque is eyeing a collaboration with Honda. “It is going to be McLaren-Mercedes for quite a few years to come,” he told the Daily Mail. Whitmarsh played down reports the Woking based team is looking at its options because it will now have to pay for a ‘customer’ supply of Mercedes power. “I think we have got a very good deal with them, but I think more importantly than that is we have got a good partnership,” he insisted.
The first of F1’s six cargo 747s has touched down in Austin, Texas, ahead of the Circuit of the Americas’ first US grand prix next weekend. Local broadcaster KVUE said the ‘Cargolux’ flight touched down at Austin-Bergstrom international airport on Wednesday afternoon. “A lot of that (flight’s cargo) is supplies for the paddock area,” track president Steve Sexton said. The Circuit of the Americas is an all-new facility, and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali told La Stampa his team’s analysis is that it is a “copy and paste” of other well-known grand prix layouts.
Robert Kubica has taken yet another step on his long road back to F1 by winning the Citta di Bassano rally in northern Italy.
“I still have a long road in front of me,” the former BMW and Renault driver said afterwards. “But this shows the road is not as long as we thought,” added Kubica, referring to his extended recovery from an horror rally crash in early 2011.
The main problem for the 27-year-old now is the mobility of his right arm. Turning a steering wheel inside the narrow confines of a single seater is currently not possible for Kubica. But his arm surgeon Igor Rossello is confident.
“Currently, we estimate his recovery at 50 per cent,” he told the Polish source Gwizdek24. “I assume that we will make it back to 75 to 80 per cent, which would be quite sufficient to drive a formula one car,” added Rossello.
“I have spoken with his manager Daniele Morelli, who is as excited about his progress as I am,” he said. “I am convinced that it (returning to F1) is possible, although the recovery can often take many months and years.”
Robert Kubica’s hand surgeon has cast doubt on whether the Pole can ever restore the full use of his right arm. The former BMW and Renault driver’s arm was almost severed in the early-2011 rally crash that ended his promising F1 career.
Kubica has, however, now returned to competitive rally action, and – whilst targeting a full return to formula one in 2014 – has been linked with the Pirelli test seat for next year.
But Igor Rossello, who performed operations on the 27-year-old’s damaged arm, told Poland’s Super Express: “Unfortunately, not even a good and long rehabilitation will lead to a full restoration of (the mobility of Kubica’s) hand.” He said Kubica is currently able to drive a rally car because the driver has much more room to manoeuvre his right arm with limited mobility.
“At the moment it is difficult to predict if Robert will be able to participate in F1 races,” he said.
Robert Kubica could step up his quest to return to Formula One by becoming official tyre supplier Pirelli’s next test driver.
The Italian marque’s current main tester, Jaime Alguersuari, is tipped to return to the paddock with a competing team in 2013. Pole Kubica, regarded as one of F1’s most talented contemporaries until his early-2011 rallying crash, recently returned to competitive action after a 19-month recuperation with a couple of minor Italian rally outings.
The 27-year-old fared well, but Kubica has said he is unlikely to attempt a full return to F1 until at least 2014, due to the reduced mobility of his right arm at present. But Pirelli’s Paul Hembery told Auto Motor und Sport he might be open to Kubica becoming the official F1 tyre tester in 2013.
“It’s a possibility,” said the Briton. “I don’t know if he’s in a position to do the job at the moment, but he is definitely the kind of driver that we are looking for.”
Hembery admitted he has not spoken to Kubica “for some time”.
But “If he is physically capable, and spends a year with us, it would for sure bring him into a good position to maybe return (to racing) in 2014. It would be really great if we could do that,” he added.