Robert Kubica will give 2019 his race comeback in Formula 1, but until then the question marks remain whether the Pole is really able to move a Formula One car at the limit after his serious rally accident 2011.
Although this is repeatedly claimed by his side, but so far Kubica has only been on the road in the test operation –yet Williams has expressed confidence in him.
If I were team leader, then I would have doubts too,”admits the 33-year-old. I know it’s hard to believe, but I think Williams saw this year that I can, and I’ve seen it in the past 16 or 18 months since my first Formula One test in Valencia,”he says in the context of his current performance as a regular. My limitations do not restrict me as most people believe.”
Actually Kubica was already considered a candidate for a tribal seat for the current season, but Williams decided to take a comparative test for Sergei Sirotkin, which the Pole will now replace. Kubica, meanwhile, had to settle for the role of test and substitute driver in the traditional team and only occasionally came to a number of tests or a Friday workout, as indeed tomorrow in Abu Dhabi’s first free training.
But he says that this year was very useful to him: “Everyone knows me from before, But when I came here for the test last year, it was only the second time I drove a Formula One car of the new generation. This year has therefore given me the opportunity to understand the cars a little better from a technical point of view and also to understand how the team works”, so Kubica.
Williams and Kubica back to success?
The deployment in Abu Dhabi was planned from the beginning of the year and was not intended as preparation for 2019. Nevertheless, of course, Williams wants to test things for the coming season.” I therefore do not expect fast times,”warns Kubica of too much optimism. The Friday and the test next week, where Kubica will also be present, are the last chance for Williams to try out new for 2019 by the end of February.
Then Williams wants to leave the end of the field where he landed this season. The team, of course, hopes that 2018 was just a slip-up and that the problems were understood. Kubica is supposed to help lead the team back into the track, but he also knows that many eyes will be on him. In his early days he was considered to be a future top pilot, who had even had a cockpit at Ferrari for sure.
Of course, the expectations are also higher than with a rookie, although Kubica has not contested Formula One races for eight years. However, he is not concerned: “I have a lot of experience in racing and Formula One. I therefore know what it takes to be a top pilot. I’m not afraid of anyone,”he emphasises. I know it takes a lot of work and dedication, but I am ready for it.”
2019 the perfect starting point
With the Friday test, the test trips next week in Abu Dhabi as well as the winter trips he sees enough time to be prepared for the tasks 2019 as best he can. In addition, the new regulation could help him: “2019 is starting from scratch in a way, so I am not worried that I was gone for eight years,” said the future Williams pilot. I am looking forward to knowing what is necessary and I know what I have to do.”
For him, 2019 is therefore the perfect time to get in. And that’s why I decided to do it,”said Kubica, who was also offered an offer as a simulator pilot at Ferrari in addition to the Williams base. And in the meantime, he’s ready to make driving feel natural to him, and that’s what matters. The realization came to him after the Abu Dhabi test last year.
“I feel ready,” he underlines again, “but we know it will not be easy. It has already been a challenge for me to get to formula 1, and from a sporting point of view it will be a greater challenge once again to ensure that I deliver what is expected of me. But like I said, I’m not afraid of it. I am ready and looking forward to it, and I have received additional motivation and dedication through it.”