Robert Kubica has not given up on his dream of a full-time return to Formula One and says he is motivated by how close he came to a securing a 2018 race seat with Williams.
Kubica started a remarkable F1 comeback attempt last year in a series of tests for Renault, six years after the 2011 rallying accident which almost severed his right hand completely. When Renault agreed a deal for Carlos Sainz, Kubica started being evaluated by Williams and initially looked to be favourite to replace Felipe Massa as Lance Stroll's teammate for the coming season.
Eventually that seat went to Sergey Sirotkin, but Kubica has been signed to the role of reserve and development driver, which will see him take part in three Friday practice sessions during the year. Despite missing out on the race seat Kubica insists he is happy with his current situation.
"When you are getting close there is high risk that it will not work out," Kubica told ESPN at the launch of Williams' 2018 car. "But you have to look at the wider picture. The last 12 months of my life have been very positive, nobody was expecting myself to be in a position to drive an F1 car, nobody was thinking that I would be having this opportunity.
"Of course when you are so close you always hope to have a happy end. In some way I was hoping to have a drive, but the most important point of the last year was if gave me confidence I could do it -- physically, mentally, all my work which I have done in the last years, where I'm coming from a very difficult period, has paid of.
"So more satisfactions, deeper satisfactions, rather than just thinking 'I didn't make it'. All this situation, there are far more positives than negatives. Of course, I admit I was hoping I would get the drive but I see things more globally, the wider angles. I can still see it as a positive."
At the launch of the FW41, Kubica told the assembled media he had turned down opportunities in LMP1 [the highest category of the World Endurance Championship] to continue his push to return to F1. The Polish driver says it was essential that his new role included opportunities to see some track time for Williams this year.
"Everything can change very quickly so for me it was important to get opportunities to drive. I'm happy to be part of the Williams team in this role, which is not really a standard third driver, reserve driver role where you go to races and don't do anything.
"It was important for me to get opportunities to drive because only by driving I can maybe achieve -- I say maybe because you never know in your life -- the possibility to achieve the final goal ... Last year gave me a big boost in believing it's possible -- that doesn't mean it will happen but at least I know it is worth to try it."
When asked if the fact he got so close made him wonder about what might have been without his injury, he said: "If I was still thinking 'where I could be', I probably wouldn't be here. You've got to get on top with it and carry on with your life and learn a new situation which I was put into after the accident.
"I think I have to be proud and happy for what I achieved, from where I was coming and the situation I was in. It can always be better but we have to be honest; I know myself it was much worse and it could be much worse. I think I can be happy and we have to thank everybody who helped me achieve what I achieved. Of course there were high expectations but I think we are closer than ever, so let's keep fighting and keep working and trying to deliver as best we can."