Robert Kubica has confirmed he agreed a deal to race alongside Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for the 2012 F1 season but was robbed of the opportunity when he crashed during a rally.
A star of the future and, touted as a possible World Champion, Kubica took a moment away from Formula 1 back in 2011 to contest the Andorra rally.
It almost cost him his life. It did cost him his Formula 1 career.
He crashed heavily and suffered life-threatening injuries, most notably to his arm.
And while Kubica has returned to the test arena with Williams this season, he is left to ponder what could have been.
Speaking on F1’s official podcast hosted by Tom Clarkson, he admitted he considered withdrawing from the rally event but decided to press on.
He was, however, aware that “the team I was going to drive for next year, I was not allowed to rally.”
Asked by Clarkson whether that team was Ferrari, he replied: “Yes.
“[The] First [goal] is to enter F1. Second is to become an established driver in F1, so you have good value, a good reputation, which is more difficult than to enter.
“Third, you win a World Championship or become a Ferrari driver. I haven’t won a World Championship, in the end I haven’t become a Ferrari driver but I was very close.”
And knowing how close he was to that dream only adds “additional pain” down the line.
He explained: “My recovery was so hard that for the first 16-18 months it did not hurt.
“I was fighting, I was concentrating on recovery, I was going through a difficult period.
“The more time was going the more difficult it was becoming, because the hope that things can get sorted are disappearing.
“There were moments I was recovering extraordinarily good and there were then months when surgeries went wrong and I went back six months instead of improving.
“It was painful [not racing in F1] but it was not more painful because I knew I was going to race for Ferrari.”
As for his decision to even take part in rallies, Kubica says he wanted to be a better driver.
He added: “I thought rallying would give me this. And it really gave me [that]. The problem is I paid too high a price.”