Williams F1 driver Robert Kubica will line up on the grid for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix a full eight years after his last GP start.
The crash in the Rally Andorra between 2010 and 2011 F1 seasons that almost cost him his life and left him with significant injuries that most people presumed had prematurely called time on his Grand Prix career has been well documented in the intervening years.
And ahead of his ‘second Grand Prix debut’ as he’s calling it, in an interview with Giles Richards of the Guardian, Kubica has spoken about the physical and mental hurdles he’s had to overcome in order to secure his place among the 20 best drivers on the planet.
“The period straight after the accident was probably most difficult physically” he says.
“I discovered how powerful the brain can be. The brain adapts very quickly. It is incredible how quickly we can adapt [physically] and what progress we can make in a very short time.”
Of the psychological challenge of coping with his injuries and subsequent disability he says:
“The period where you have to adapt mentally, this was even more difficult.”
“Physical things you can solve. But then many times after surgery to improve things, you discover you have not moved forwards but backwards. Dealing with that is a mental task. You have to be strong. I do not have an easy character, definitely, and in those days this character helped me quite a lot.”
But Kubica is far from content to settle for a job-well-done in returning to Grand Prix racing. Even at the age of 34 he’s hungry for more.
The monumental effort that has led him to get back to the pinnacle of F1 is now in the past, and he’s only looking forward.
“When my drive with Williams was announced people said: ‘Congratulations, the hard job is done'”
“I said: ‘No. The hard job is just starting.'”
If he’s able to harness half the fight and determination that has brought him to where he is today and apply it to the season ahead, who knows what he can achieve.