Thursday, 07 July 2016 09:00

Robert Kubica, or, as we say...Alessandro Nannini

Written by

Translated by Giannis Binas

 

When the coincidence is one, then we could say… “ok, it’s a coincidence”.

Date of 1st publication: 08/02/11


But when the coincidences are 2, 3, 4…?
The accident of Robert Kubica in 2011, at the Rally Andora, brings in our memories the equivalent accident of the former Formula 1 driver, Alessandro Nannini.
The difference between the two lies on the way the accident happened, as the Italian’s accident was with a helicopter.
But this is where the differences stop and the coincidences begin.
Nannini was a highly promising pilot, who seemed to have a bright future in Firmula 1, just like Robert Kubica.
Both drivers had up to their accident, 76 starts and from one and only win.
Nannini won at Suzuka in 1989, where we had the notorious incident between Senna and Prost, while Kubica won at Montreal in 2008.

 

Nannini - 1989 Japan

 

Their career in Formula 1 (up to their accident, always) lasted 5 years with a 20 year difference between them: Alessandro Νannini (1986 – 1990), Robert Kubica (2006 - 2010).
They raced on behalf of two teams only: Nannini (Minardi - Benetton), Kubica (BMW Sauber - Renault).
The last team they raced for in Formula 1 is practically the same, as Renault was the former Benetton.
Moreover, the injuring of both was at their right arm.
And unfortunately, they had the same ending.

 

Kubica - 2008 Montreal

 

For Nannini, the F1 chapter ended after his accident, since it left him with a wrist he could no longer move, luckily though, he didn’t stop racing.
He continued fighting in Touring Championships with Alfa Romeo and then in the FIA GT with Mercedes.
Alfa Romeo even made a gear shift system exclusively for him, with two levers (one for shifting up and one for shifting down) that the Italian was pushing forward.
That system intrigued his team-mate, Nicola Larini, who, after a test, asked to have it installed in his Alfa Romeo, too.

 

Nannini - Alfa Romeo

 

Ferrari gave him the opportunity in 1992 to find himself behind the steering wheel of a single-seater once again for a few laps with the F92A at Fiorano.
The Italian was in the sights of Ferrari before his accident, just like the Polish… 

 

Nannini Ferrari 1992

 

In 1996, he had another chance of driving a Formula 1 single-seater, this time with the Benetton team at Estoril.

Nannini - Benetton -B196

 

The same applied for Kubica, as the restriction of movements from his wounded hand didn’t allow him to return to Formula 1, but didn’t stop him from continuing his career at his other love… the rallies.
In 2013, he even participated in the whole length of the World Rally Championship, competing in the small category (WRC2), where he was crowned champion with the Citroen DS3.

 

Kubica - WRC 2

 

In 2014, the Polish driver moved a category up, in WRC, with M-Sport.
The year set off on the right foot, winning the first ERC (European Rally Championship) race with the Ford Fiesta.

 

Kubica - ERC 2014

However, the progress in WRC was not as expected, not because he lacked the speed but for the fact that he was prone to… crashing, maybe as a result of his wounded hand.
The 14 special stages he won during his 2-year participation (2014-2015) didn’t yield the results the Polish hoped for, with his best finish being in Argentina, in 2014, where he claimed 6th position.
2014 found him with 14 points in 16th place overall, while 2015 with 11 points in 12th place.
In 2016, he only participated in the inaugural race of the season in Monte Carlo, where he retired.

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