Williams expected to reveal driver line-up on Friday

Date published: December 13 2017

Williams have reportedly pencilled Friday in as the day on which they will reveal Lance Stroll’s new team-mate.

The Grove-based squad have a driver vacancy following Felipe Massa’s retirement and the names of Sergey Sirotkin, Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta were all mentioned as a possible replacement.

However, it emerged earlier this week that Kubica is no longer in running with Sirotkin the clear favourite to land the seat due to his financial backing.

And now Russian’s Tass news agency has revealed that Williams will make an announcement on Friday December 15.

Kubica out of contention for Williams seat – report

Date published: December 11 2017

The dream of a sensational return to Formula 1 appears to be over for Robert Kubica, with reports suggesting he is now completely out of the running for the vacant Williams seat.

Kubica impressed Williams in the two-day Pirelli tyre test at the end of the 2017 season, but Autosport believes the Pole is now no longer being considered for the role and Sergey Sirotkin is now clear favourite.

Earlier on Monday, reports emerged that Sirotkin’s significant sponsorship backing, worth in the region of £11.2million, was making him the more attractive prospect for Williams.

But Autosport also reckon that Williams were impressed with Sirotkin’s data from the test in Abu Dhabi when compared to Kubica.

Should a deal with Sirotkin fall through, axed Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat – another driver with substantial financial backing – is the back-up option with reserve driver Paul di Resta also now ruled out.

After failing to land a seat at Renault and now seemingly at Williams, the doors initially available to Kubica appear to be firmly shut.

Kubica: Last step is the most difficult one

Date published: December 6 2017

Knocking on the door of a Williams race-seat, Robert Kubica concedes that the final step in his return is the “most difficult one.”

Kubica is believed to be Williams’ preferred candidate to partner Lance Stroll next season after coming through the end of season Abu Dhabi tyre test.

The Polish driver, who injured his right arm in a rally crash in 2011, posted the team’s fastest time at the test using the new Pirelli’s hypersoft tyres.

Williams, though, insisted after the test that they were still evaluating their options.

“When you feel there’s a good chance to be in a position to do properly the job it’s a difficult period,” Kubica told Sky Sports News.

“The last step is the most difficult one. I’ve done many of them to arrive where I am and to achieve what I have achieved this year, but the last one is the toughest one.

“Let’s wait and see. It is a challenging way of coming back for me with my limitations, but the progress I have done in all the tests is giving me good confidence that I will be able to do it.

“Whatever the outcome will be, it’s been a great 10 months for me and I have worked pretty hard and I’m happy with the results I’ve seen. But the final decision’s not on my side so let’s wait and see.”

The 32-year-old is adamant that he is up to the task of racing a full season if given the opportunity.

“If I would not be sure I would not try it,” he added. “A lot of people ask why I didn’t try earlier, I think the answer is here [points to head]. The brain makes a big difference.

“It will not be easy for sure, but life is not easy and I think the confidence is there, that’s the most important thing. I’m pretty sure it would be a good thing for me and a good thing means I would be able to do it – properly.”

Vettel: Kubica comeback a pity for young drivers

Date published: December 6 2017

Although Sebastian Vettel feels for Robert Kubica, he reckons the Polish driver’s return would be a “pity for younger drivers” as he’d take away their opportunity.

With Felipe Massa once again hanging up his helmet, Williams are searching for a new team-mate for Lance Stroll.

Kubica is leading the running and recently tested with the team at the post-Abu Dhabi GP outing.

But while many are wanting Williams to sign the 32-year-old, who last raced in 2010 before a rally crash left him with severe arm injuries, Vettel has questioned his return.

The Ferrari driver told Blick: “I think it’s very tragic what happened to him back then, he was considered a future champion.

“However, I do not understand why he is now pushing for a comeback. Why did he not do this earlier?

“For him it would certainly be a nice story, [but] on the other hand, it would be a pity for younger drivers, from whom he would take away a race-seat.”

Kubica won’t return to ‘make up the numbers’

Date published: December 2 2017

Robert Kubica is adamant he doesn’t want to be back in Formula 1 just to be a good story, rather he needs to be able to drive at a “high level.”

Kubica took part in a two-day test with Williams as the Yas Marina circuit this week where he posted the team’s fastest time.

However, that was set on the new hypersoft Pirellis while his soft tyre run was 1.3s slower than Sergey Sirotkin’s.

Williams, though, have yet to make a decision regarding Lance Stroll’s new 2018 team-mate.

And while Kubica is keen to return, he wants it to be for the right reasons.

“A lot of things have been written and talked about lately,” he said. “I think that’s normal because there are a lot of question marks and everybody has their own opinion.

“I think there are a lot of people who want to see me back because of the story.

“The story is nice but in the end there are no discounts for the story, in the end I have to make sure if I get the chance I am ready, and I have to be as best prepared as I can if something comes up.”

He added: “I appreciate it [support from fans] because I think there’s a lot of hope and a lot of wishes of a lot of people, but in the end I know how reality is.

“The reality is that once I’m in the car there is no story anymore, I have to be myself with the car and with the team and the job has to be done.

“First of all I have to be sure that I am able to do it and for sure every day is giving me a lot of confidence that things can work out pretty well.

“For my standards to be met it pretty much means I have to drive at a high level.

“If I’m coming back I’m not just here to make up the numbers. Although I’ve been away for seven years, with my limitations I have to be sure that I am able to provide my best possibilities and be the best Robert Kubica which I know.”

Williams: Kubica is not the only option

Date published: November 30 2017

Williams are adamant that Robert Kubica is not the only option for next season but did reveal he can through the Abu Dhabi test without any problems.

Kubica was in action for Williams on Tuesday and Wednesday, setting the team’s fastest lap time on the hypersoft Pirellis.

However, his soft tyre time was in fact 1.3s slower than that set by Sergey Sirotkin.

“I’m not going to talk about speed,” said Williams’ tech chief Paddy Lowe. “It’s a complicated topic.

“I’m sure you want me to give some answers about that but it’s not something we are not going to discuss.

“It’s a really complicated topic, performance and speed, so to read a timesheet is quite misleading, so I’m not going to talk about that.

“We haven’t even analysed it for ourselves.”

He did, however, reveal that Kubica came through the Abu Dhabi test without any physical issues.

“We wanted to see Robert as he hasn’t driven a current car, or current tyres, so of course it was interesting to see how he got on with that,” he said.

“No problems. He’s absolutely fine. Good driving, no complaints, no issues. All went well.”

Lowe, though, insists Kubica to Williams is not yet a done deal as the team is still considering other options.

“We’ll take the decision at the time we are ready. When we have all the information and we are ready to declare it.

“The drivers we brought to this test doesn’t mean that it’s the drivers under consideration for racing next year.

“This was a tyre test, which is an opportunity to look at two different drivers as well as for Lance to look at the new tyres. That was the purpose.

“Of course it gives us more information about drivers, but it’s not setting a definition from the pool from which we will pick race drivers.”

Kubica: I’m not driving one-handed

Date published: November 30 2017

Robert Kubica has rubbished claims that he is driving “one-handed”, saying that would be impossible to do.

The Polish driver was back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi this week, taking part in a two-day test with Williams.

The outing is believed to be the final test as Williams evaluate both Kubica’s speed and limitations before deciding on their 2018 drive line-up.

And although Kubica set the team’s fastest time on Wednesday, he has been dogged by speculation about his limitations given the severe arm injury that he suffered in a rally crash in 2011.

The Pole, though, is adamant he is not racing one-handed.

“There is someone saying I’m driving one-handed. I’m not driving one-handed,” he said.

“I think it’s impossible to drive a Formula 1 car with one hand.

“But 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.”