Williams will be assessing whether Robert Kubica’s injuries limit his ability to drive a 2017 car at this week’s Pirelli tire test, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe admits.
Kubica has been chasing a return to Formula 1 more than six years after a horrific rally accident left him with life-threatening injuries in February 2011. After a number of tests with Renault earlier this season – including in its 2017 car at the Hungaroring – Kubica switched his focus to Williams when Carlos Sainz was signed alongside Nico Hulkenberg for 2018, and this week will see his first opportunity to drive the 2017 Williams.
“Robert is an impressive guy,” Lowe said. “We all saw how he operated in Formula 1 in the past. He’s a great driver – very professional, very committed, enthusiastic, very intelligent. He’s an exciting prospect, that’s why we’re looking at him.
“We’re in a process with Robert, which is a matter of evaluating whether his injuries will have an impact on his ability to drive in Formula 1. It’s as simple as that.
“So far it’s been fine, is all I’d say – we ran the 2014 car and there were no issues, so I think we just see how it goes next week, then we make our assessment. He will do a normal program and in the process we can answer those questions.”
Kubica will drive on both Tuesday morning and again on late Wednesday afternoon for Williams, with Lowe admitting the team needs to ensure it keeps emotion out of its final driver decision despite the obvious goodwill story that a return for the Pole would make.
“I pick that up – a lot of people do say how great it would be if Robert was back in F1. We’ll see. It’s important to be objective in what we do. There are other drivers still under consideration, but we know how they perform because they’ve been racing – we have lots of race data.”
RACER understands Williams hopes to make a final decision on its driver line-up in the first two weeks of December to ensure it has clarity ahead of the new year.