ABU DHABI -- Robert Kubica admits he is still finding "compensations" to account for the limitations caused by his injuries, but remains confident he has proved he is capable of a full-time return with Williams next season.
Kubica returned to the cockpit with Williams on Tuesday for the final two test days of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi. He completed 100 laps -- just shy of two race distances of the Yas Marina circuit.
Although the main purpose of the two-day test is for teams to collect data on next year's tyres, Williams is also using it to assess the Polish driver's abilities in a modern car after two tests of a modified 2014 model at Silverstone and the Hungaroring.
Though there are few doubts about Kubica's talent -- Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso say he would have been a world champion were it not for his rallying accident on the eve of the 2011 season -- questions linger about how he would deal with the demands of a 20-race F1 season. Kubica nearly lost his right arm in his crash at the Ronde di Andora and still carries noticeable scars.
"I'm having the same approach for the last six months. I'm taking my opportunities, my days, behind Formula One, as a step-by-step, as a day-by-day," Kubica told the media after his session was over. "I try to learn as much as I can, give the best job, the best service I can provide and try to learn myself.
"Of course it's not exactly the same as it was seven years ago, I have some limitations, I have to adapt myself also, I have to learn my body. But one very positive thing is how my body is reacting and how more natural I feel every day when I'm driving a Formula One car. It's giving me a lot of confidence."
He went on to dismiss rumours about how badly his injuries have affected his driving style and said his preparations for a return have been so extensive he's fitter now than when he last raced an F1 car at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
When asked to describe what the limitations he mentioned were, he smiled and said: "There is someone saying I'm driving one-handed, I'm not driving one-handed! For sure I think it's impossible to drive a Formula One car with one hand.
"But for sure I have some limitations so in some way my body used some compensations, which is not wrong, we are human beings and our brains are used to help our bodies overcome disabilities. This is normal daily life. This is something I think I'm on top of. Physically I think I have done a great work, good work in the last six months.
"It hasn't been easy, it was not like I have been lying in my bed, actually probably I'm in psychically my best shape, by far a better shape than I was when I was racing in 2010. So motivation is there and the body is reacting in a good way.
"Of course I'm starting nearly from scratch because Formula One has changed so much in the last seven years that it's like nearly starting from zero, but my experience which I gained in the years I was racing in Formula One helped me to get on top of the learning process quicker than it used to be in the past. But still, it's like being the first year in school."
Kubica was in good spirits when he spoke to the media after his session and he made it absolutely clear he believes he has what it takes to race in Formula One next season.
"First of all I have to be sure that I am able to do it and for sure every day -- and a day like today -- is giving me quite a lot of confidence that things can work out pretty well. For my standards pretty well means it has to be a high level. If I'm coming back I'm not just here to do a number. Although I've been away for seven years and with my limitations I have to be sure that I am able to provide my best possibilities, the best Robert Kubica which I know.
"In the end what the future will bring I don't know, but definitively if you look at the overall picture, where I was 12 months ago and where I am now, it has been a good 12 months. For sure today was the kind of day that if nothing more happens, there will be some disappointment, because I feel very confident and very comfortable, but also if you think where I was, I can only be happy and a bit proud of what I achieved in the last ten months."