Robert Kubica insists he has no regrets about returning to the F1 grid, he just didn’t expect to arrive in Melbourne so woefully unprepared.
After years of dreaming of a Formula 1 comeback, Kubica took to the Albert Park circuit last Friday once again as a grand prix driver, this time around racing for Williams.
It was a comeback to forget.
The Polish driver and his team-mate George Russell were slowest of all throughout the Australian GP weekend with Kubica four seconds off the pace in Q1.
It was more of the same on Sunday when the 2008 Canadian GP winner finished three laps down, albeit in a damaged Williams.
Asked if he had any regrets about his decision to return to F1, he told Autosport: “No, because in the end I took the decision after thinking for more than six weeks last year.
“I knew it would be an extremely difficult challenge for me to be back in such a competitive sport and being on the grid, and I knew it might be difficult for Williams.
“But I didn’t expect to come to Australia so unprepared.
“[That’s] not from a physical point of view but from a lack of driving. For me, before testing, Barcelona would be the most important days of the last eight years as a driver – although not as a person, when I was in hospital and couldn’t walk.
“As a driver, there haven’t been more important test days in my life from the driver point of view as Barcelona.
“Unfortunately Barcelona didn’t work out at all. “So it put me into the difficult position, but somehow I have to go through them here, in Bahrain, and probably for a couple more races.
“But I hope and, from what I can see, I think I cannot regret. Even if I struggled here [in Australia], I still enjoyed it, which is a big difference compared to long time ago.
“I am not an emotional guy but after the race, it felt like a great achievement.”
— Giedo van der Garde (@GvanderGarde) March 17, 2019
Kubica concedes that this past weekend’s showing has done little to silence those doubting his ability to compete against the best in Formula 1.
“Because of my limitation, I always have to show more than the others because people always have doubts,” he added.
“The only thing I can do is try to do my job the best I can, and try to leave all the grands prix with positives and negatives.
“I don’t believe that there can be 100% positive things. You can always do better things. Even if you are winning races, you can always improve.
“Knowing how F1 has changed, I think I am honest enough with myself to judge properly and correctly what I have to learn, where I have to learn and improve.
“I think only this approach brought me back to F1 and actually kept me fighting.
“Otherwise for me it would have been much easier six years ago to accept opportunities I have in GT3 or DTM, enjoy, have even less stress, and probably have more fun with driving because I will be probably fighting for better positions.
“But somehow there is a reason why I am here. And it might be that at the end of the year I will regret something, but one thing I will not regret is to try.”