Paddy Lowe is eager to hear Robert Kubica’s feedback on the progress of this year’s car as the Pole makes his first appearance in a Formula 1 weekend in nearly eight years at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Kubica last drove during a race weekend in 2010’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, suffering severe injuries in a rally crash before the following season got underway. Having secured the role of Williams reserve and development driver, Kubica has driven in pre-season testing but will replace Sergey Sirotkin in FP1 this weekend and Lowe is eager to hear how he views the car having last driven it in March.
“They say that the car that is quickest around here is generally going to be quickest at most races in the season,” Williams chief technical officer Lowe said. “It is the first race where traditionally you see many more upgrades arriving, as we are back to our truck-based logistics rather than airfreight which has seen us through the first four events.
“We are bringing a reasonably significant upgrade to this race, but probably not different to most other teams. It’s going to be a busy weekend for us. We have Robert Kubica taking part in FP1 in place of Sergey; his first of three FP1 appearances this season. We have a busy Friday program and it will be interesting to get Robert’s feedback on the car.
“Sergey has driven many laps on this track in pre-season testing so he won’t miss out too much. We also have two days of testing following the race with our Official Young Driver Oliver Rowland, and Robert, and we have a huge program to fit into those two days to make progress with the development of the car.”
For his part, Sirotkin is confident stepping aside for FP1 won’t hurt his weekend due to the amount of running the team has done at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this year already.
“It will be nice to be in Europe and at a track I know well as Barcelona is very familiar to us,” the Russian added. “Barcelona is also good for the team because we did a decent amount of testing there, so we probably have a much better idea of the package we need to prepare for the race compared with events we’re much less experienced with.
“It’s obviously a time of the year where people bring upgrades, so it will be nice to see where we are with our bits compared to what other teams bring.”
– Chris Medland