Robert Kubica was a phenomenal racer over the course of his stint with Renault. Fact is, he has been one of the greats in F1. Even with his considerably short time on the grid, Kubica had managed a huge fanbase.
The Pole restricted his life to the five wheels in a car. Sadly, his greatest passion turned out to be the sole cause of his near-fatal accident in 2011.
Earlier, Eric Boullier on a podcast had recalled his time with Kubica. Now Alan Permane, a veteran, opened up on his experience on this week’s Beyond the Grid Podcast, with the racer from Poland and what was the ambience like when the news of his crash reached them.
“I can remember where I was. I can remember this sort of emergency meeting being called. It was a Sunday morning I think or Saturday.
“It was a weekend anyway. Gérard Lopez who was chairman called in a meeting. We were sort of brainstorming what could we do?
“We dont know how long is he out for. That time we didn’t know much about it. And Of course it is very clear that to replace a drive like that in short notice is impossible.
“There wasn’t an Alonso lying around or a Schumacher lying around, that’s the level he was at,” concluded Permane.
Permane recalled his time with Robert before he had the accident. On the podcast, the manner in which he describes the events itself shows how divine it felt to be working with such a talent first hand.
“Yes. Undoubtedly. He is another. Just lives and breathes. There is nothing else at the time of driving Formula 1 and winning and doing well.
“And thinking of every possible thing he can think of to make the car go faster and to do better. He was super impressive,” expressed the Renault engineer.
In his excitement and overflowing emotions for Robert, Permane recalled an incident with the Pole. The description made the mettle of Kubica crystal clear.
“He qualified in Japan one year. I think he qualified second or something like that in that car. He got out of the car, and he was completely white and shaking and he said, I can’t even talk at the moment and he had to sit down for a while and calm down.
“He said I’ve never done a lap like that, never put that sort of effort into a lap, before. I don’t know if he had scared himself or what he had done, he can be quite an emotional guy, ” remarked Permane.
Alan Permane has been around this circus for 20 long years. Well, from his expression, Kubica was a ‘one in a million’ kind of a racer. Had Kubica not been involved in those ghastly accidents, he could have had a different story to tell.