In a time dominated by names like Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso another man was on course to be a part of one of F1's most competitive eras.
Robert Kubica made his name in the sport from the get go after joining the BMW in 2006 as a reserve before later making his début as a race driver replacing Jacques Villeneuve in Hungary.
Now though the Pole is driving in the World Rally Championship after seeing his F1 dream ended by a near-fatal rally crash prior to the 2011 season.
Ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, a race that saw the highest and lowest part of his F1 career, lets look back on the man who saw his huge potential unfulfilled in one of the cruellest circumstances possible.
There was no doubting Kubica's talents upon his arrival with the now Sauber team eight years ago.
The then 22-year-old came into F1 having comprehensively won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2005 winning nine races and finishing second in the other eight.
In fact the biggest surprise was perhaps Kubica didn't go straight into a race seat in 2006, however, at the time GP2 still held much greater status in F1 team's decisions when looking at the next generation of drivers.
But the reserve role at BMW was in many ways a blessing in disguise as the Pole got to drive on Friday at every race and when Jacques Villeneuve was deemed unwell enough to race in Hungary, the only Eastern European race on the calendar, Poland's first F1 driver had his chance.
Kubica would beat team-mate Nick Heidfeld in qualifying and would finish in the points in the race only to be disqualified later for his car being underweight.
Initially standing in for Villeneuve, the Canadian would then go on to leave the team following the decision to replace him in Hungary and Kubica was given the seat for the rest of the season.
After showing his talents in Budapest, Kubica would then go on to take his first podium at only his third F1 race in Monza though it would be his only points that season.
He would be retained for 2007 and again the results would come as BMW continued to move up the grid, however, the first major low in Kubica's career would come in Montreal after a massive crash in the race which some believed could have been fatal.
The Pole was largely unscathed though would suffer light concussion in the horrifying incident and would miss the United States Grand Prix a week later, where a man named Sebastian Vettel would make his F1 début.
The following year was when Kubica really announced himself as a potential future champion, 2008 may have been largely dominated by McLaren and Ferrari but BMW and Kubica were always the team nibbling at their heels.
A year after his crash, the Pole would return to Montreal and this time the result would be very different.
In a race where Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Raikkonen crashed in the pit-lane and multiple Safety Car periods interrupted proceedings, BMW were the last team standing and Kubica would take his first F1 win with Heidfeld second.
The new regulations in 2009 hurt BMW more than most, however, and the highs of 2008 were only reached late on as Kubica would finish second in Brazil but at the end of the season the Pole was Fernando Alonso's hand-picked replacement at Renault as the Spaniard moved to Ferrari.
The theme of close but not close enough continued as Kubica hovered in the lower half of the top eight though he would score three podiums over the year.
That would be his final season in F1, however, as the moment that shook many in the sport occurred just weeks before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2011.
The Pole was a keen rally driver and participated in the Rondi de Andora rally in Italy in between the pre-season F1 tests.
During a stage Kubica would lose control at high speed and hit a crash barrier which would penetrate the car door and impale him in the car.
His injuries ranged from a partial amputation of his right forearm to fractures in his shoulder, arm and leg as well as a significant loss of blood.
As a result, Kubica would be in hospital for six months and because of his restricted movements in his right arm unable to drive an F1 car.
Since 2012, he has been rekindling his racing career in the ERC and now the WRC driving for Citroen and now Ford. The Pole is also a Mercedes simulator driver, offering some hope a return to F1 could happen one day.
As it is many fans and personalties in F1 are left saddened knowing a man who had the skills to take on the likes of Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso and become champion is now more likely to see all his work and talent unfulfilled at least in single seaters.
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