Kubica was set to drive for LMP1 privateers ByKolles Racing, but has pulled out days before the season’s first race.Former Formula One and World Rally driver Robert Kubica was set to compete in the 2017 World Endurance Championship with ByKolles Racing, in their LMP1 program. After the preseason test at Monza, Kubica announced his withdrawal from the season via Facebook.
After the Prologue, I have decided to interrupt my racing program with the ByKolles team in LMP1. Therefore, I will not take part in the upcoming WEC Silverstone opening round and in the other WEC races. It has been a hard decision to step down and so lose the opportunity to join such a challenging and competitive Championship, but I hope this will not be a definitive goodbye.
At the test, ByKolles did very little running and Kubica didn’t actually drive. In fact, the team were still building the car as testing got underway, which cost them several days on track.
There has been no word on the exact reason for his departure. Dominik Kraihamer will take his seat at ByKolles.
Kubica’s promising Formula One career was ended when he suffered massive injuries in a rally crash. While competing in a rally before the start of the 2011 Formula One season, his car hit a barrier, which went through the cockpit and nearly severed his right arm.
After a lengthy recovery, he returned to the rally world and claimed the WRC-2 championship in 2013. After a few seasons in the WEC, Kubica was now poised to take on a greater challenge with ByKolles.
While there is much speculation that his arm injury is to blame for leaving the ByKolles team, by all accounts, he is fully recovered. Driving an LMP1 car is just as demanding as a Formula One car. Possibly more so, due to the nature of endurance racing. In the past, he has honestly and graciously admitted that he was unable to drive. He has yet to say that is the case now.
Kubica should have been killed, not only in the rally crash, but also in one of the most violent wrecks ever seen in Formula One. He is persistent and determined to drive. It would not be easy for him to just walk away from the ByKolles LMP1 program without good reason.
Kubica has tried several times to return to Formula One, but his arm injury kept him away. Curiously, just days ago, Kubica had this to say about returning to Formula One.
“I am not thinking of returning for now,” he told the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, “but it is not a closed chapter for me.
“It is now much more likely than it was two years ago,” Kubica added. “Perhaps one day my patience will be rewarded.
“I will not say anything until it is sure.”
Is there something afoot behind the scenes? Kubica has said for years that he wants to return to Formula One. If he is physically able to, and is offered an F1 seat, he’ll take it.