Robert Kubica Tests 2017 Renault F1 Car, Gets Warm Welcome On Return


Robert Kubica now has taken a major step toward a Formula One comeback, and it’s safe to say everybody in the sport is pulling for him to complete that journey.

Kubica received a warm welcome from everybody in attendance at the Hungaroring on Wednesday, as the Polish driver participated in his first official F1 test since his horrific crash. Taking part in Day 2 of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test, Kubica is behind the wheel of Renault Sport F1 Team’s R.S.17, giving him his first taste of a 2017-spec car.

Although Kubica last competed in F1 in 2010 with Renault, he has completed two tests in older-spec cars with the French manufacturer throughout 2017. With Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul admitting Kubica is an option for 2018 — likely as a replacement for Jolyon Palmer — the test in Hungary is very important for the 32-year-old, so all eyes unsurprisingly were on him at the start of the day.

After completing four seasons in F1, Kubica’s career halted in 2011 after a rally accident left him with a partially severed hand and multiple compound fractures to both his arm and leg.

F1 tests don’t usually draw a big crowd, as cars aren’t always running on track and teams’ garages tend to be more closed off than usual during the sessions. Due to all the anticipation surrounding Kubica’s potential comeback, though, fans filled the stands in Budapest.

Even Fernando Alonso, who’s enjoying his summer break while some of McLaren-Honda’s junior drivers get some seat time in the “BudaTest,” was paying attention to Kubica’s test.

Kubica completed well over 100 laps Wednesday morning, and his neck seems to be coping with the heavy loads produced by the 2017 cars. As of 10:40 a.m. ET, the fastest time he has posted is a 1:18.952, which is roughly 1 1/2 seconds slower than Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg’s fastest time from qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Thumbnail photo via Renault Sport F1 Team

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