Kubica on his F1 return: “I’d put it at 80-90%”

The mid-season break is always rife with speculation over what driver is going where – but we may see the return of one of F1’s most iconic drivers yet.

What was attempted to be played off as merely a gracious opportunity to test an older-spec car to an old F1 driver has quickly become something much more potent. The talk about Renault can only focus on one thing: Robert Kubica.

The Polish driver had captivated millions during his time in Formula One, but a catastrophic injury which he sustained in a rally accident took him out of the seat prematurely. And yet, we’re seeing the first stirrings of something more to come forth from camp Kubica.

His most recent test with Renault at the Valencia circuit showed that, despite being out of an F1 car for years, Kubica still has the strong pace he always had. And while nothing concrete has happened as of yet, signs are pointing to a possible replacement for Renault’s current driver Jolyon Palmer.

Palmer has been unable to secure any points to his name up to the summer break, and should he not correct the path he is on, he could find himself being shunted to the side in favor of an older, more experienced driver. To say that a Kubica comeback story would set the media cables afire would be a horrific understatement – Liberty Media would absolutely have a field day. It would easily become a staple story for the upcoming season.

Before the tests, Kubica’s disposition toward a return to Formula One was incredibly low to say the least, although the Pole himself has said that his mind has been changed since his stint in the 2012-spec Lotus E20:

“If you asked me how much I was realistically thinking that coming back to F1 was possible [before the test], I would have put myself up to 10 or maximum 20 percent chance.

[After the test: Because I’m very realistic, and I’m keeping my feet on the ground, I’d put it at 80 or 90 percent.” – Robert Kubica

If Kubica’s use of the term “realistic” is not an indicator regarding the driver’s knowledge of whether he’ll have a spot open or not, nothing is. He’ll undoubtedly be playing his cards close to his chest over the coming months, but the faded F1 star seems far more resolute regarding his future in Formula One than he ever was before.

While Palmer’s future is far from being set in stone, it’ll take a serious effort from the young British driver to prove to Renault that he’s capable of sharing his portion of the load alongside Nico Hulkenberg.