Robert Kubica is convinced he will return to the Formula 1 track a better driver once he has recovered from the injuries he picked up in last weekend's rally crash, and he insisted he must get back this year.
The Pole is due to undergo another bout of surgery in Italy today to work on fractures he picked up in the accident. Although he faces a lengthy recovery period, with doctors warning it could take a year for him to get back into an F1 car, Kubica says he is already focusing only on his return.
"I want to get back on the track stronger than ever, because after these accidents you aren't what you were before – you improve," Kubica said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "It happened to me in 2007, too, after the crash in Canada. I was out for a race and when I got back I was better. A driver is not just throttle and steering wheel – it's more than that. There's a difference between someone who drives at 80 percent and who does at 95 percent: in that 15 percent extra you find the abilities and the motivations coming out.
"Since 2007, I'm stronger head-wise as a driver. And it will be the same this time again, when I'll be back in good physical shape. I must return this year.
"I remember well my state when, seven years ago, I was in a car with a friend driving, we were hit by another car driven by a drunk. Back then, too, we ended up against a barrier and bent it, before falling down a cliff.
"It was the same right arm – massacred. But after four days it didn't feel as good as it feels now, and this reassures me. Dr. Ceccarelli did the rest, and he assists me now, too.
"I have an insane urge to cut the times with the best possible preparation. I don't even know what a bone is like, but since they are fixing it for me, it's up to me to make it work the way it's supposed to."
Kubica says he remembers nothing about the accident that left him with fractures to his legs and arms and in danger of losing his hand. When asked about his condition he said: "The fingers work – I can feel them, and the arm does, too. But I'm undergoing surgery, and I will know only after that...
"I'm sorry for what has happened. It shouldn't have. I don't even know what happened; I can't remember anything of the crash. I found myself in the hospital and everything was explained by my manager, Daniele Morelli, who has been here since Sunday."
Although Kubica says his future participation in rallies is not certain once he is back to full F1 fitness, he insists he was right in pursuing the hobby.
"Had I not done it, I would have stayed home regretting it," he said. "So I did it and now I'm in this bed. But rallies aren't just a passion. They are severe training for F1. I drive better in F1 because I did many rallies last year. Rallying helps your concentration, especially since there is almost no more testing in F1. Performance in F1 comes from a series of details.
"Rallying has allowed me to work on certain aspects of myself where there are still margins to improve. It's important in a season like this with 20 races."
Kubica's manager Morelli has also revealed that he was told to prepare for the worst when his driver arrived in the hospital because of the severe blood loss he had suffered.
"When he arrived here, he had only one liter of blood," Morelli said. "'Call the boy's parents,' the doctors told me on Sunday afternoon. I felt a chill in my spine."