For­mula 1’s come­back kid ex­plains why he’s fallen out of love with poker but is still in love with mo­tor rac­ing… and ex­actly what was go­ing through his mind dur­ing that crash in Canada 2007


Robert Kubica talks frankly about his road back from in­jury

Known to be a man of few wasted words, but also one in whom the pas­sion for mo­tor rac­ing burns brightly, Robert Kubica cuts a faintly enig­matic fig­ure in the Mel­bourne pad­dock. He wears the trap­pings of the par­tially off-duty For­mula 1 driver – team kit, not fire­proofs – and yet he still re­mains tan­ta­lis­ingly out­side the cir­cle of F1’s elite, in spite of the sheer fo­cus that’s gone into his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion from the ac­ci­dent that nearly cost him his hand – and his life.

Robert was once a keen poker player (although not any more… read on), and what­ever thwarted am­bi­tions he car­ries with him do not man­i­fest them­selves on his face. F1 Rac­ing passes him the cards – it’s a chunky pack; only Kimi Räikkö­nen would gen­er­ate such a sim­i­larly over­flow­ing post­bag – and seem­ingly with­out think­ing, he shuf­fles the cards. Old habits die hard.

So too, it seems, does the com­pet­i­tive spirit. What be­comes crys­tal clear over the course of the next half an hour is that de­spite miss­ing out on the Wil­liams race seat he so cov­eted, Robert Kubica re­mains as com­pet­i­tive and com­mit­ted as ever… Def­i­nitely hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to drive these cars, although F1 has changed a lot com­pared with when I was rac­ing. They’re achiev­ing very good lap times but in a dif­fer­ent way. But I think for a driver, the most en­joy­able part of the game is the driv­ing.

Pol­ish fans are be­com­ing a big­ger and big­ger group and more ac­tive, so it’s re­ally nice to be fol­lowed and to see them ev­ery­where I go. There has been no one event or race, rally or test­ing where I have had no Pol­ish sup­port, so that’s re­ally great and I would like to thank them. But it’s not only the Pol­ish fans – so many peo­ple out there were cheer­ing for me and sup­port­ing me.

What do you most en­joy about be­ing back in For­mula 1? Chris Sar­tor, UK Hi Robert, I’m incredibly proud of what you’ve done – you’re a hero to me. Tell me, how does it feel when you see so many Pol­ish sup­port­ers cheer­ing you ev­ery­where? Michal Nieckarz, Poland

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