Robert Kubica returns to F1 cockpit after five years

Robert Kubica has taken the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time since a rally crash in 2011 left him fighting for his life.

The former Grand Prix driver and race winner was one of the frontrunning drivers during his five years in Formula 1, before an off-season extracurricular rally crash in Italy severely injured him. Rallying a Skoda Fabia in Andora prior to the 2011 season, Kubica crashed and his car was impaled by a guard rail. The rail almost completely severed his left hand and, while Kubica eventually recovered to full health, mobility issues prevented him from returning to Formula 1.

However, after some years returning to competitive motorsport in other categories, Kubica drove a GP3 car last week. His former team, Lotus/Renault, for whom he drove in 2010 and was supposed to compete for in 2011, sent him out in a 2012 Lotus E20 at Valencia on Tuesday. He completed 115 laps.

The last time Kubica drove an F1 car was at the same track in February 2011, just days before his life changing accident. He was quickest man on that day.

Robert Kubica has tested a Formula One car for the first time since the rally crash which maimed him in 2011.

The 32-year-old drove a 2012-specification Lotus E20, now run by Renault, at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. The team confirmed he did 115 laps in the car and unofficial times say that he was quicker than Sergey Sirotkin, who also drove on the day.

This private test will spark serious rumours about Renault’s current driver line-up, particularly in light of Jolyon Palmer’s poor start to the season, which has seen him finish with a best position of P11 so far. By comparison, teammate Nico Hulkenberg has scored all 14 of Renault’s points, by dint by three different points finishes.

Renault Kubica
Kubica heads out on track in a Lotus E20, run by Renault. Copyright Renault Sport F1

Renault Kubica

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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