The Robert Kubica accident in Italy back in 2011 shook the motorsports world down to its core. The severity of it caused Kubica to fade away from the world of F1 temporarily.
Beyond the Grid this week hosted the former Racing Director at McLaren, Eric Boullier. The man has experience in almost all the trades in F1. However, he is one of the few people who has been a director and promoter at the same time.
Amidst the varied discussions, he was asked to recall the time of Robert Kubica’s accident. The story that followed drips of dread and fright. He explained how quickly a peaceful breakfast turned into a sour experience.
“I was having breakfast in London. I remember very well that day and my phone rung. It was the manager saying there had been a dramatic crash.
That day I had 130 calls. I spent all my day on the phone. I obviously flew straight back to Italy to see where Robert was injured,” recalled the Frenchman.
Given the conditions of the crash, none had expected him to survive. What’s more, no one knew the extent of his injuries while he was in the hospital.
“Not straight away. Cause the news I had was obviously nobody at the time knew Robert was in a rally except his closest entourage. Even the manager was not given what happened, how bad it was.
“After, a couple of hours when we had access to more information we understood how bad it was cause he nearly died that day,” said the former director.
Boullier further explained the reason why only a select few had information about Kubica’s whereabouts? The racers in Formula 1 often get tired of the attention they receive. They aspire to lead a simple life with their cars and their races, as did Kubica.
“Well at that time we knew he was doing some testing. We did not know he was doing that specific rally. But because he wanted to live from his passion and not be bothered about being a Formula 1 driver, that’s why the confidentiality was as much as possible kept,” remarked Eric.
Eric recalled that he had never been critical of drivers trying their hand at other formats. Although rallying is far-fetched, Le Mans and Endurance championships are fine by him. Having breathed the smell of burned tires for long, he believes every format adds to the experience.
“I’ve always been favorable for him to do something else. Rally is a bit extreme compared with Formula 1. I mean, it’s 2 different worlds and two different driving styles.
“But drivers doing Formula 1 and doing 24 hours Le Mans never been a problem for me. Because I think there is something to learn from both categories,” concluded Boullier.
Robert Kubica was far too careless, and he escaped what could have been the last race of his life.