After the adversity should come the triumph
He may have only scored one point after running within the top 10 for just one lap during the 2019 Formula 1 season so far, but Robert Kubica’s comeback remains one of sport’s most remarkable recoveries.
In many ways, the extent of his injuries suffered in a 2011 rally accident and subsequent journey back to the top echelon of motorsport make today’s announcement even more admirable. Kubica will not seek another season at Williams, instead opting to leave the team at the end of 2019 in search of an opportunity for a race seat in another category.
Kubica has been strongly linked to a potential DTM drive, with Autosport reporting that the one-time grand prix winner’s management team have held talks with Audi boss Dieter Gass.
Assuming that either a DTM drive – or any competitive drive in another category – becomes available, Kubica’s almost unquestionably made the right decision in turning his back on a potential Williams renewal.
Williams is currently mired at the back of the grid, in a year in which it was late to pre-season testing, has never reached Q2 with either car and only scored one point – gifted after both Alfa Romeos were disqualified in the German Grand Prix.
Amongst the challenges, Kubica has found himself in a no-win situation against rookie team-mate and Formula 2 champion George Russell. In the event that he outraces the highly-rated Mercedes junior Russell – a feat Kubica’s only managed twice this year – it’s while arguing over who finishes in second-from-last place. Hardly a shop window to showcase talent and experience.
Law of diminishing returns makes Kubica’s chances against Russell slimmer and slimmer as time goes by. One driver is growing into their F1 career while the other is a veteran, albeit with a history to defy convention. The scales are likely to only tip further from Kubica’s favour.
While 21-year-old Russell can afford a couple of seasons growing into F1 at the tail end of the midfield, 34-year-old Kubica is not in line for a similar Mercedes-shaped scoop to make the struggles worthwhile. There is zero value in wasting time in a struggling outfit for Kubica.
I want to see a motivated Kubica challenging for victories and podiums in a highly competitive series, earning the silverware he deserves following his heroic recovery. After the adversity should come the triumph.
It’s brilliant that Kubica was able to return to F1 and heartbreaking that he did not have an opportunity to resolve the unfinished business at the pinnacle of the game.
BUT, I’d much rather see Kubica celebrating a win in DTM – even a podium in DTM – versus a glorious, hard-fought Q2 appearance in F1.