The Pole was injured in a horrific accident during the Ronde di Andorra in early 2011, just days after the end of pre-season testing with Renault and weeks ahead of the start of the season.
The accident, which saw a guardrail penetrate the car’s cockpit, resulted in partial amputation of the driver’s forearm, compound fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg, as well as significant loss of blood.
In the months and years that followed, despite the odds being well and truly against him, Kubica fought his way back to F1, contesting the WRC and indeed, winning the World Rally Championship 2 in 2013.
Following what Renault initially insisted was a reward test in early 2017, albeit in a 2012 car, subsequently resulted in further outings and even a shoot-out for the 2018 Williams seat eventually taken by Sergey Sirotkin. However, Kubica was retained by the Grove outfit as test and reserve driver.
Speaking on the official F1 podcast, Kubica has revealed that he had wanted to withdraw from the Andora event but didn’t want to let the team down.
Revealing that “the team I was going to drive for next year (2012), I was not allowed to rally”, when asked if this was Ferrari, he replies “yes”.
“First is to enter F1,” he said of a race driver’s goals. “Second is to become established in F1, so you have good value, a good reputation, which is more difficult than to enter. Third, you win a world championship or become a Ferrari driver. I haven’t won a world championship, in the end I haven’t become a Ferrari driver but I was very close.”
Revealing that the contract, agreed with (then) team boss Stefano Domenicali, would have seen him earning less money than with Renault, but driving in the red of the legendary Maranello outfit, the Pole insists that missing out on that opportunity did not particularly add to his pain in the months after the crash.
“My recovery was so hard itself that for the first 16-18 months it did not hurt,” he said. “I was fighting, I was concentrating on recovery, I was going through a difficult period. The more time was going the more difficult it was becoming, because the hope that things can get sorted are disappearing.
“There were moments I was recovering extraordinarily good and there were then months when surgeries went wrong and I went back six months instead of improving. It was painful but it was not more painful because I knew I was going to race for Ferrari.”
Insisting that his original rallying exploits while still driving in F1 were not about fun but rather “the desire to become a more complete driver, to find something others don’t have or that I can improve”, Kubica admits “I was not happy to be as good as I was… I needed more. I thought rallying would give me this. And it gave me that. The problem is I paid too high a price.”