Showing further evidence of the progress he’s making towards a much-hoped full recovery after his shocking rallying accident, Robert Kubica has given his first media interview from his Italian hospital bed, having recently been transferred out of intensive care.
Before the Pole underwent another round of surgery to repair fractures to his elbow and right leg, the Renault driver was optimistic he could return to the Formula 1 grid before the end of the 2011 season, despite doctors warning that it could take over a year before he is full recovered and race-fit.
“I want to get back on the track stronger than ever, because after these accidents you aren’t what you were before, you improve,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It happened to me in 2007 too, after the crash in Canada. I was out for a race and when I got back I was better. A driver is not just throttle and steering wheel, it’s more than that. There’s a difference between someone who drives at 80 per cent and who does at 95 per cent: in that 15 per cent extra you find the abilities and the motivations coming out.
“Since 2007, I’m stronger head-wise as a driver. And it will be the same this time again, when I’ll be back in good physical shape. I must return this year.”
The 26-year-old likened his injuries as being similar to those he suffered in a car accident seven years ago, when the car he and his friend were travelling in was collected by a drunk driver.
“Back then too, we ended up against an Armco barrier and bent it, before falling down a cliff,” he said. “It was the same right arm – massacred. But after four days it didn’t feel as good as it feels now, and this reassures me.
“I have an insane urge to cut the times with the best possible preparation. I don’t even know what a bone is like, but since they are fixing it for me, it’s up to me to make it work the way it’s supposed to.”
Perhaps fortunately for the Renault driver, he remembers nothing of the rallying crash that caused him such critical injuries, including the partial severing of his right hand.
“I don’t even know what happened; I can’t remember anything of the crash. I found myself in hospital and everything was explained by my manager, Daniele Morelli, who has been here since Sunday,” he continued.
But he was adamant that pursuing his hobby of rallying is the right thing to do.
“Had I not done it, I would have stayed home regretting it,” he insisted. “So I did it and now I’m in this bed. But rallies aren’t just a passion. They are though, severe training for F1.
“I drive better in F1 because I did many rallies last year. Rallying helps your concentration, especially since there is almost no more testing in F1. Performance in F1 comes from a series of details.
“Rallying has allowed me to work on certain aspects of myself where there are still margins to improve. It’s important in a season like this with 20 races.”