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Robert Kubica

Formula 1 driver

Robert Kubica
Credit: LAT
Vital statistics for Robert Kubica
BirthplaceKraków, Poland
Born7 December 1984
F1 debutHungarian Grand Prix, 2006

Robert Kubica was starting to make a name for himself in Formula One, after a victory with the BMW team in 2008, and a strong season with Renault in 2010. Unfortunately, a rallying accident in early 2011 brought his F1 career to an abrupt end with a long recovery in store. The injuries to his arm allowed him to continue rallying but his mobility was impaired enough to make an F1 return unlikely.

F1 biography

Kubica's early foray into motorsports came after he persuaded his father to buy him a small car, and when he showed talent, upgrade it to a kart. After winning many of the Polish karting races, he moved to other European championships and started building a reputation. Kubica moved up to Formula Renault and Formula Three Euro Series, as well as a stint in the World Series by Renault.

His good performance there earned him a test drive with the Renault F1 team, before he was snapped up as the test driver for BMW Sauber. In 2006, Kubica made an unexpected F1 debut, replacing Jacques Villeneuve who was feeling the ill-affects of a previous accident. Kubica remained in the seat for the rest of the year and impressed enough to be promoted to full time race driver for the following two years.

In 2007, Kubica endured a terrifying accident at the Canadian Grand Prix, hitting multiple walls and trashing the car. He walked away with just a concussion and sprained ankle, which forced him out for the following race in the US. He was back in the car for the remainder of the year though. During the 2008 season, Kubica started finishing on the podium on a regular basis and he scooped the team's first victory in Canada.

The BMW team's performance dipped in 2009, and Kubica moved to Renault for 2010. He was quickly on the pace and back on the podium, and was starting to be considered a serious talent to watch for the future. Unfortunately, Kubica also indulged in some rallying over the 2010-11 off-season, and suffered a high speed crash in Italy. Pieces of the crash barrier had penetrated the car chassis, and the damage to Kubica's arm took several surgeries to correct.

The Polish racer always maintained he wanted to return to Formula One, but as his recovery continued, the limited mobility of his arm meant an F1 comeback would be unlikely. He did return to rallying though, winning a handful of races in 2013 and 2014.