Robert Kubica admits "nothing has changed" regarding the limitations with the right arm he nearly lost in a horrific rally crash, despite his impressive performance for Renault in the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test.
The Pole, completing his first outing in an up-to-date Formula One car in over six years, managed a 142-lap stint and set the fourth-fastest time during last week's in-season test in Hungary. While he was not entirely satisfied with his first run in Renault's 2017 challenger, Kubica believes the mileage he was able to cover around one of F1's most challenging circuits -- the tight and twisty Hungaroring -- shows he is fit enough and ready to drive at any track.
Kubica's remarkable comeback to F1 has been met with delight and admiration throughout the paddock, while it has renewed hope that the 32-year-old could return to the sport on a full-time basis. Kubica had focussed his attentions outside of single-seaters during his recovery from life-changing injuries suffered on the eve of the 2011 season, admitting in late 2013 the prospect of contesting a grand prix was "nearly impossible."
When asked what has changed in the last few months to enable him to drive an F1 car again, Kubica replied: "Nothing has changed, I am the same guy which was 10 months ago, four months ago, one week ago -- my limitations are the same. From that point of view nothing has changed. From a physical point of view and preparation let's say a lot has changed, because I've started preparing. I was not targeting to come back but I knew that if I would get the chance I have to be ready and F1 is a very demanding sport.
"Current cars are even more demanding that previous cars, those cars are the fastest cars of the last 20 years. In the end the cars are even heavier, and this is the biggest difference and probably no-one is talking about it because they got used to it because every year or every two years there was minimum weight increments.
"For my side, when I last time drove the car the minimum weight was 620KG, to have 100KG [extra] bringing around the track, it makes a big difference. So there were quite big changes for me from what I knew and what I learned in the past so there was a lot of things to learn. But from physical point of view, inside the car it is much better than it looks outside the car. That's what's most important."
The 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner -- who was tipped to be a future world champion -- is determined to remain grounded about his chances of receiving further F1 outings, insisting he would not be disappointed if the opportunity to make a sensational return to the F1 grid in 2018 did not occur.
"Nothing is impossible," he explained. "Of course I have been the last six years through different periods and stages of my life mainly dedicated to my physical issues and injuries, then of course there was a lot going on in my head, which is normal I think, so my approach was very simple, anything can happen. If we see where I was four months ago compared to where I am now it is a big change and it happened very quickly.
"I think if in three months I did improve a lot and moved forward quite a lot, everything can happen in the future but we have to be realistic, nothing will be easy. For sure, my target is to get the kind of role in F1. If I can and if I will have a chance I don't know. One thing is sure, if it doesn't happen, I will not be disappointed because I am looking at this chance, this situation very, very realistically."