He was the epitome of a swashbuckling, mega-talented rising star who just needed the right break. And the right backer. The wild child with everything but the wallet to light up Formula 1.
It didn't happen. Well, it hasn't happened yet. But at least he'll finally get on track in a proper F1 opportunity this week, when the proteges of grand prix racing's biggest teams will be out in force in Spain.
Mercedes' George Russell, McLaren's Lando Norris, Ferrari's Antonio Giovinazzi and Renault's Jack Aitken are among the talent on display. But pay attention to Williams - and not just on the day Robert Kubica is driving.