Williams tester Robert Kubica has expanded on the manner in which he drives due to his arm limitations, explaining that the outcome is “the same or nearly the same”.
Kubica sustained severe arm injuries in a rally crash in early 2011 that ostensibly ended his single-seater career, but returned to the Formula 1 scene last year, testing for Renault before joining Williams.
Onboard footage shown during Kubica’s time in the FW41 at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix provided a clearer view of the manner in which the Pole uses his right arm and hand.
Expanding on his approach, Kubica said: “I drive to how my body, and what my limitations, allow me.
“After my accident, I discovered to do a roundabout in a road car, you don’t have to grab steering wheel. You can use friction to turn. F1 is not a road car.
“But I have also been in the school where they give you a bird in the hand and you have to hold it so it doesn’t fly away but you can’t hold it too tight that it gets scared.
“This is the way you have to hold the steering wheel.
“When I was racing in the past, once in Malaysia, one of the first weekends I was doing [with BMW] in 2006, there was footage when you saw me driving with three fingers open.
“I remember engineers were shocked. They said ‘why?’ I said ‘I don’t know’, probably you don’t need to use all power you have, you just have to use what is enough.
“Probably the way I drive is enough what I’m doing otherwise I would not be here, otherwise I think I will not have this opportunity or tests last year and I would not planned to do 160 laps in F1 car [in testing].
“It looks different than 10 years ago. And it looks different to the others. The outcome is the same or nearly the same.”
Williams has endured a difficult season and has remained mired towards the rear of the grid for much of the campaign – a contrast to much of Kubica’s F1 racing career, when he was towards the front of the pack.
When asked whether he would actually enjoy racing the FW41, he replied: “Sometimes you race not for the position but for your own satisfaction and for your own knowledge that you have done a good job.
“In the past, I have been on the podium and I was less happy than races where I finished P9. This is one topic.
“To enjoy, you need to have a car that is suiting your driving style and is giving you margin to drive it.
“Often unfortunately now we’re in a position where we are going around the track and we’re not driving the car. This is not enjoyable, this is hard work. It’s hard work to be 4 secs off the pace.
“It’s harder work than maybe fighting for one tenth and risking to throw out the lap but you know you’re taking the risk and you’re the boss of the situation.
“Often in our position, it’s more about you driving the car into what is happening. You don’t know what will happen until it happens and then you react which is a hard job.”