Thousands of cheering fans, many yelling “Robert come back!” in Polish, gave Robert Kubica a hero’s welcome after he got back into a Formula 1 car for the first time in six years at Goodwood on Sunday.
JUL 02nd 2017
Robert Kubica on his return to F1 at FOS
The “nicest driver in F1” and the man said by many to be on course to be Poland’s first world champion driver before an accident in a rally car cut his career short in 2011, was behind the wheel of a Renault Sport E20 for his run up the hill in his first-ever visit to the Festival of Speed.
He returned to the Renault Sport paddock between an avenue of fans many of whom had come from Poland to see him. And in response to the question everyone wanted to know – when will he return to F1? – he told GRR: “Until we say it is over, it is never over,” adding: “I am not doing this for a media show.”
In preparation for the Goodwood debut of his long-awaited return to driving an F1, Robert tested the Renault Sport in a private test session at Valencia last month, in effect re-creating an F1 race weekend by doing 115 laps, showing both his fitness and his serious intent to get back to top-level motorsport.
Robert drove for BMW Sauber F1 between 2006 and 2009, becoming the first Polish driver in F1 and winning the Canadian Grand Prix in 2008.
In 2011 he tried his hand in the World Rally Championship but crashed out of the Andora Rally in an accident in which his right arm was partially severed.
One of Robert’s fans from Poland at FoS, Greg Radzik, told GRR: “Robert is a great example of someone fighting for their dreams. Every weekend was special when he was racing in F1. Seeing him back in an F1 car here at Goodwood is just fantastic.
“He is Poland’s first and only F1 driver and a national hero to us. All his fans believe he would have signed for Ferrari but for that rally crash, and we believe he would have gone on to become world champion.”
One thing for sure: Robert Kubica was probably the most popular driver at the whole of this year’s Festival of Speed.
Full interview with Robert Kubica on GRR soon.
Photography by James Lynch