Robert Kubica admits there remain some question marks over his potential performance level, but says he will be disappointed if he doesn’t get the chance to return to Formula 1 in 2018.
The Pole stepped up his chase of a race seat next season by testing for Williams during the Pirelli tire test in Abu Dhabi last week, completing 100 laps on the opening day before carrying out short runs late on day two. Having carried out F1 tests for both Renault and Williams this year, Kubica admits he is hopeful of being able to continue pursuing a return to the sport.
“From my point of view, I’m having the same approach [as] for the last six months,” Kubica said. “I’m taking my opportunities step by step, day by day. I try to learn as much as I can, do the best job, the best service I can provide and try to learn myself.
“Of course it’s not exactly the same as it was seven years ago – I have some limitations. I have to adapt myself also; I have to learn my body. But one very positive thing is how my body is reacting and how more natural I feel every day when I’m driving a Formula 1 car. It’s giving me a lot of confidence.
“In the end, what the future will bring I don’t know, but definitively if you look at the overall picture, where I was 12 months ago and where I am now, it has been a good 12 months. For sure [testing] was the kind of day that if nothing more happens, there will be some disappointment, because I feel very confident and very comfortable, but also if you think where I was, I can only be happy and a bit proud of what I achieved in the last ten months.”
Pushed on whether he expects to be testing a 2018 car in pre-season based on his comments, Kubica clarified that it is the rate of improvement he is seeing that encourages him that he can potentially reach a high enough level to race again.
“I didn’t particularly like to say ‘disappointed’, I say it because in the end I see big improvements – and as I said, the confidence is an important factor. Everything started from how I want to come back. I don’t want to come back just to come back, because even if I get a chance and I don’t feel confident I can do it, I will not come back because there is no point.
“I’m very demanding of myself. Although I understand my situation and try to adapt, the high standards I put into what I do haven’t changed. The worst thing I would like to do is to convince myself I can do it and then have trouble. So there are question marks that have to be answered for the team, but also for myself.
“As I say, I see big improvements day by day so I can expect things to get better. That’s why I say I would be disappointed, because in the end I put in a lot of effort and I see there is a good chance I am able to do it.”