Sunday 22 September 2019

Kubica nears remarkable return with Williams test


Robert Kubica. Photo: Getty Images
Robert Kubica. Photo: Getty Images

Tom Cary

Williams have confirmed that they will give Robert Kubica a test drive in the coming weeks as they aim to complete their driver line-up for 2018.

Kubica had his first official Formula One test in more than six years with Renault in August and is aiming to make a remarkable comeback to the sport.

The 32-year-old partially severed his right arm in a rallying crash in 2011 which had seemingly ended his F1 career after a strong start.

But now, with Renault opting to sign Carlos Sainz alongside Nico Hulkenberg for next year, Kubica could yet earn a drive at Williams.

Paddy Lowe, chief technical officer for Williams, revealed that Kubica - as well as Paul Di Resta - wil be given a chance to impress in a forthcoming test.

"We will test those two drivers," he said. "We won't give away any information around what we do within those tests - that's a private matter for us and I would stress that doesn't mean that they're the only drivers under consideration."

Lance Stroll will remain at Williams next season having gradually adapted to Formula One in his rookie season, finishing third at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June.

Current Renault driver Jolyon Palmer is also hopeful of moving to Williams after losing his seat to Sainz, while Lowe insists there are also plenty of other options available to the team - including retaining the services of Felipe Massa.

"Of course Felipe is very much in the frame, very, very high on our list of possibilities," Lowe added. "But we owe it to ourselves to take a look around and see what could be the best option for the team going forward.

"All options are under consideration. You've probably seen a number of names floating around but honestly, the range is almost unlimited."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton is happy that his unpredictable Mercedes is in better shape ahead of tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix despite heavy rain severely limiting running in yesterday's practice.

The Briton leads the world championship by 34 points after he eked everything out of his car to seal second place in Malaysia last weekend despite Ferrari and Red Bull being faster around Sepang.

After the race in Kuala Lumpur, Mercedes's head of motorsport Toto Wolff admitted this year's car was becoming more and more capricious, while on Thursday Hamilton labelled his car "stubborn".

Sebastian Vettel is his closest rival and the Ferrari man topped the timesheet ahead of Hamilton after first practice at Suzuka.

Heavy rain fell before and during second practice, with half of the 90-minute session written off before five drivers set full lap times.

Hamilton was the quickest of that quintet and he was pleased with what he saw. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Japanese GP, qualifying, Live, Sky Sports F1, 7.0am

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