F1 Winter Break
2017
Robert Kubica hails his ‘amazing progress’ as Williams prepares to decide on 2018 F1 line up
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Posted By: Jake Boxall-Legge  |  05 Dec 2017   |  7:36 am GMT  |  180 comments

Robert Kubica made a popular appearance at the Autosport Awards in London on Sunday night, openly discussing his adaptation back to an F1 car after the injuries that sidelined him in 2011. Williams is set to decide soon whether to back his comeback bid, or to take the money being offered by Sergei Sirotkin.

Kubica was asked to present a rally award on Sunday and noted that his time in WRC on the comeback road had played a key part in learning the importance of adaptation.

“It’s a completely different sport, it’s nothing to do with Formula 1. As a rally driver you need to be a much more flexible driver, you have to adapt to different conditions – the conditions are never the same, ” he said.

“As a circuit driver you have to be very precise, very consistent. As a rally driver you cannot do that.”

Kubica’s ability to adapt to different conditions has certainly helped with his aspirations to return to F1, and he has spent the latter half of 2017 preparing for a return to F1 against all the odds, testing with both Renault and Williams.

The F1 fraternity was palpably excited for the return of Kubica when his first Renault test was announced, although most were understandably curious as to whether he could overcome his arm injuries which – seemingly, at least – cut short a promising F1 career.

Kubica participated in his first F1 test in nearly seven years at Valencia, clocking up the miles in the 2012 Lotus E20 around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Featuring alongside reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, who assumed something of a benchmark figure at the test, Kubica is said to have been faster than the Russian – although the data are a closely-guarded secret. In Yes Marina the impression was the other way around in Sirotkin’s favour.

When Carlos Sainz Jr. became an option for Renault, Kubica’s potential return was put on ice before Williams showed interest in assessing the 32-year-old Pole. After a few days testing 2014-spec machinery, Kubica got the chance to pilot Williams’ current-spec machinery at the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre test.

Once more sharing duties with Sirotkin, who became a late contender for the Williams drive vacated by the retiring Felipe Massa, Kubica fared strongly, appearing in much better shape compared to his time in Renault’s RS17 at the Hungaroring, indicating that his pace increases with more time in a car.

The Pole drove largely on softer tyre compounds than Sirotkin.

There are limitations, which Kubica freely admitted to in his appearance at the Autosport Awards, but he was adamant that he was able to enact workaround solutions in his driving and that the physical side of driving an F1 car is not a problem.

“There was new stuff to learn, a new experience and, of course, the learning process of my body to get around my limitations.

“This year has been great for me and although I haven’t raced, what I achieved and how I progressed has been amazing.

“Honestly, I have much more limitations in my daily life. Of course, it’s not the same driving an F1 car as it has been in the past, but still my limitations are much less than it looks like.

“Most – about 90% – of my driving is the same as it was in the old days.”

There are a few small accommodations afforded to Kubica in order to get him comfortable with the current generation of F1 cars. His steering wheel, for example, has both up and downshift capabilities on one side to allow Kubica to change gear with his stronger hand. The cockpit headrest is also a little different to give him more space to turn the wheel.

From the outside looking in, it’s difficult to ascertain where Kubica stacked up in the Abu Dhabi test alongside Sirotkin and regular driver Lance Stroll, as runs were prescribed by Pirelli and – perhaps wisely – Williams has also given nothing away.

Williams management is deciding this week whether to go with Kubica or to take the money offered by Sergei Sirotkin, who also tested in Abu Dhabi with Kubica.

The story around Sirotkin is not as attractive as around Kubica, especially with the parallels with Frank Williams’ own comeback story, but the economic realities of F1 today are harsh for Williams.

Kubica believes he’s ready, and feels that he’s learned to adapt to F1 with his own limitations.

“The brain makes a big difference, it’s amazing how much potential the brain has and how quickly we can adapt to different conditions.

“Unfortunately, I was interrupted in my career, I had several injuries, but in the end I learned a way how to live with them, how to drive an F1 car with them, and in the end I’m quite surprised about the results that I saw.

As Williams makes a decision on who will partner Lance Stroll, all eyes will be on the Grove outfit as the rest of the driver market is sewn up. However, a Robert Kubica return would certainly provide F1 with something of a feel-good story.

What do you think of Kubica’s comeback story? Leave your comments in the section below.

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180 comments

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1

If the decision to not hire Kubica is made for money reasons, it would be sad day. Williams, then would be the new Sauber, with 2 drivers, hired for financial reasons.

It is sad to see the once great Williams team reduced to an also ran. Last competed for the championship, partly in 2003. It has been 14 long years of continuous mid grid performance.

2

It would be great to see a Pol on pole!

3

Williams’ plight distresses me.
A marker of how skewed the Sport is. Same with McClaren.

4

Maybe you could learn how to spell McLaren

5

This was the same hysteria when Kimi came back, like all comebacks it usually ends in tears!

6

He is still rated above Bottas and equivalent to sainz by team managers check autosports.

7

Rockie, Kimi came back in 2012, and won a race in 2013!

8

Won a race in 2012 as well!

9

And ler Vettel win Monaco 2017, and refrained from passing him in Hungary 2017 for the win, and did Pole in Malasya 2017. Don’t forget that 😉

10

just because i revealed your real reason for complaining about f1.
todt has so many f1 drivers present at their hall of fame inauguration yet journalists quizzed him about hamilton..he spoke of a combination of factors being responsible for success in f1. at an event to celebrate drivers’ successes. i wonder why he did organise an event to celebrate a combination of factors rather than drivers hall of fame.
hamilton will continue to confuse you all..

11

I don’t get it. What exactly are you trying to get people to say? What is my real reason? Come on man spit it out! Enough of your darned riddles.

12

@baron...i have already pointed out why they’re moaning. i know that it is often not easy to fool nature. so try as they may.
all i want to express has been expressed in my posts above. nothing to add or subtract.

13

Again your comment bears no relation whatsoever to mine.

14

NickH, oh Yeah! P3 in the wdc too!

15

Front of the Mid-grid since about 2014.
In terms of dollars per point, they've been using the PDVSA, Martini and Stroll money really well most of this decade.
Hopefully with Stroll money, Lowe Technical leadership, and Kubica driving, they can get closer to the front again.

16
Clarks4WheelDrift

Front of the mid-grid also due to the PU mess. The customer Merc has been a lot faster than the Renault, customer Ferrari, year old non-developed Ferrari and obviously the Honda.

Why are they behind Force India, is is because Force India take on more Merc parts like gearbox etc integrating their package better than Williams, is it differences in what they get from Merc software, engine modes (yuck), updates, or is is Williams aero dev?

17

williams finished ahead of force india in 2013.
what happened to your theories then?

18

Another way to look at it is front of mid-grid because Maldonados PDVSA money allowed them to get the Mercedes p.u, which proved to be a winner.
Lagging F.I, prob chassis and aero, as thats is presumably what gets Ferrari and RBR up the Mercedes depite infrerior p.u's.

19

williams have always been chasing money and frankly they're no different than saubers...since jpm/schumacher pairing they have been running pay drivers one after the other. I hope they pick kubica relying on lord stroll will be a big mistake.

20

And "frankly" .... excuse the pun? 😉

21

It would likewise be a very sad day if Kubica got hired by Williams just based on some short-lived sentimental crxp! [moderated]
It should be based on merits and so far Williams are the only to know of the hard performance facts between the drivers they have been testing.

22

williams make choices which are best for their business model..

23

Cyber, why on earth would they hire him for anything other than his driving performance? I don't think "short-lived sentimental crxp" exists in F1...

24

I thought Robert is also packing some additional sponsorship from a Polish oil company!

25
Clarks4WheelDrift

I'd like to think the company is called PoliOil... 😉

26

Yes. Seems strange that with FIA money + Martini + Stroll, they need another renta-driver.

Actually think Sirotkin is quite good. But, they already have someone with the same profile (and perhaps more promise) in Stroll.

It has to be Kubica!

27

As far as i know, Kubica is bringing money to the team aswell.

28

I don't know...that Sirotkin is quite a package. Comes with money and satisfies the requirement that a Russian be on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix contract. Something Red Bull/STR carried for a while, and now it's on someone else.

On the other hand 🙂 Kubica satisfies Martini age requirement, but he does have to give up that insurance money as well, so not only no sponsorship package but someone has to pay back that insurance money to Kubica's insurance company.

Will Stroll Sr. have say here? Which one is less threatening to Jr.? Why do I feel like Sirotkin gets this? Money, plus satisfying President Putin's requirements for Grand Prix hosting is just too much to overcome with a feel good story. A Pole substitution will not do for Russia....but I've been wrong about driver picks, haven't I?

29

You were wrong about the driver's championship going to the final round as well, lol.

30

I don't take the blame for that! It's either eager Mercedes after summer break, although they did try to slow down end of the season and let Max even have one, or overly eager Vettel. I take no fault.

31

lowe said they needed a star driver to take the next step up while cubicca tested for renault so i expect williams to confirm cubicca and to decide his drive with them..

32

KUBICA

33

He knows how to spell it....just another attention grab!

34

you got that right.

35

just another attention grab!

Glad we got it right.

37

So, I'm curious- how is it possible to type his name as cubicca (twice) when it's very clear (at least 20 times in the article) that the spelling is Kubica??

38

@blaster
Just a troll trying to be deceiving.

40

I’m not moaning?

41

funetic spelling perhaps?

42

He does it on purpose so that it looks different to all the other aliases he posts under.

43

hamilton does all his driving on purpose, riling you.

44

Aah another 'witty' reply that has no relation to my comment whatsoever.

I see you have given up even denying your constant spamming of this site.

45

I’m genuinely interested to know if you have any proof of this? As far as I am aware, multiple identities in on-line forums are always exposed by having the same IP address in which case the Admins will know. If regular posters are using multiple aliases on this site, I frankly find that childish and abhorrent with malicious intent. James clearly has no time to read individual posts and so relies on the forum ‘membership’ to inform him. If this is happening, has he been informed or is it just guesswork? Perhaps the joke is on me and everybody knows about it and it amuses them. Whatever..

46

If regular posters are using multiple aliases on this site, I frankly find that childish and abhorrent with malicious intent.

Couldn't agree more. Have you seen any posts by 'Inshaallahura' or 'Janjajanjajja' by any chance? That's him.

Many of us have accused him of this after several accounts of strong evidence. Annoying people on JAF1 seems to be such a big part of his life that I imagine he has ways to get around the IP address location, i.e a VPN. We have told James this but what can you do if someone is using a VPN to conceal their true IP location.

He never denies it, instead he will go quiet for a while and then reappear a week later picking up where he left off spamming all of the articles on James Allen F1. IMO it really detracts from the articles when you scroll down the comments and half of them are from him, worse still most of them are awful attempts at trying to be witty.

47

their knowledge in limited by their poor imagination.

48

@nickh
Exactly. Strange how on some posts, his English is good, then others it’s terrible.
Strange man!

49

have a good listen to “strange fruit”.

50

I don’t have to listen to strange fruit, reading one of your posts is enough “strange fruit “ for me thanks.
Whoever you are.

51

@ james K...Same horse, different jockey.

52

@James K

Agreed. Although 'Strange man' is a touch too kind IMO!

53

😂😉

54

if it has already been typed, it must be possible.
i wonder what this article has to do with typing..

55

...and he got his wish....

56

what’s your wish? 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017?

57

It's aveli Blastermaster - Anything is possible 🙂

58

God, I hope so - Bobby K is a talent on the same level as Max, Alonso and Hamilton. He is that good.

59

@gaz boy
That really sounds a bit Avelliish gaz.

60

More nonsense. His known performances were aeons ago. No one is privy to his times relative to his car and that of the other drivers. This myth that he was destined to be bigger than Ben Hur are just that...myths. Yes, he was good but so were many others. All the conjecture in the world is worth zip when there is absolutely no way of knowing what might have happened. I'm sure that he would be competitive but that's where it starts and finishes until track proven.

61

Sorry that’s not correct. Heidfield had his number while they drove together and ‘quick Nick’ didn’t even make the top tier.

62

Gaz B -- your turn of phrase touches on a NASCAR melodrama character, but absolutely good for a grin.

With luck, and in spite of the sentimental angle(s), certainly agree with your parallel and am guessing that talent, ability and adaptability will win the day and be reflected in results on the track. The amount of running with BK is a reflection that Williams is definitely thinking there's plenty of substance involved.

63

is that a prayer request?

64

Well if you read the New Testament, it does say faith in the future is a virtue.............

If you want evidence of divine intervention, Bobby K may his debut in Hungary 2006 in soaking wet conditions, obviously The Big Man Upstairs wanted a wet track for The People to see the dazzling brilliance of the Pole..............go figure.........

65

how about faith in the present?

66

I have to temper my admiration and respect for Bobby K's talent with the fact that bringing back a badly injured driver is always a risk - in terms of in the time out have they lost form................and function? And Kubica's hand severance isn't like when Schumi broke his leg - in any case Michael had fully recovered within a few months.

I never realised when JJ Lehto injured his neck muscles in a testing accident in early 1994 (sadly a prelude to further tragedy) that effectively the injuries he sustained where so troublesome ended his competitive grand prix career, ditto Karl Wendlinger and arguably Ralfie was never quite the same driver he was once after his fearsome Indy smash where he chipped his spine. Is Bobby K fully fit ie able to drive a full distance GP? That's a rhetorical question really no one can answer - not even the Pole himself.

67

you forgot about your closest friend massa.

68

morning. i have been following this story for a while from a few different sources. i thought i had heard that Kubica was paid out a sizeable insurance claim after his accident as he was unable to drive an F1 car again. I also understand that should he make a full time return to the cockpit that the claim would have to be repaid (by his new employer?). if this is anywhere near the truth then Williams have to pay out first, then reap the possible sponsorship rewards afterwards? Also, @james, i have yet been unable to find out how much equity Paddy Lowe was given when he joined Williams, despite checking out the Williams semi annual report. any insight? thx v much, quality journalism on the JA website, unlike some other, lesser sites.

69

Am recalling a comment on this site which indicated there was a time limit on that particular insurance clause and it also seemed to indicate it was to lapse after 2017. But, that's only the way it was understood. Possibly that'll be clarified and the fog will be lifted.

Totally agree with the quality of the journalism comment. Not so much with the "social media" approach in many of the comments these days, tho.

70

Wow, kinda harsh to repeatedly state the Sirotkin bid is primarily about money, with Kubica set to bring his own backing in as well. Especially considering how well Sirotkin reportedly - as you yourself admit - acquit himself.

Let's not kid ourselves, Williams need money, even from a 'name' like Kubica. (I'm purposely saying name, as we as outsiders don't know what kind of driver he is now.)

Good to read Kubica's quotes about his 'limitations' in a proper context over here, though. He himself admits there are limitations and he has to work around them. It'll be interesting to see where that brings him.

71

Hmmm... but Sirotkin has been on the periphery of F1 for a few years now. There is probably a key reason why that is the case, and it hasn't got to do with the size of his wallet.

Then again, I suspect that if Williams were 100% on Kubica they would have announced something already.

I wouldn't be surprised if they sign up someone else altogether.

72

Love seeing Kubica’s ability to adapt, love his enthusiasm, love the story and every other good news around him. The thing I don’t like is where Williams is heading. They got Stroll to get donations from his dad, they got rid Bottas so that they get cheaper engines, they hired Massa back knowing that Massa’s best was well behind him. Now they are chasing Kubica knowing the risks around him and who knows what other financial benefit. Someone needs to correct Clair Williams when she tells journos that she wants to win races and championships again with Williams. They can’t build a winning race team with the attitude and actions of losing.

73

F zero, so who should they take?

74

And also get rid of Stroll

75

Adding to SB’s list

Buemi
etc

76

Buemi? Who has never driven a PU car, hasn't competed in F1 for six years, and did such a great job he got the sack? Good choice......

77

TimW, your questions are tiresome (no offence). You are missing the point here. The point I’m trying to make is that Williams is shamelessly sold out for money. This is the nit the team that produced champions anymore. They should be attracting young drivers of high caliber like Vandoorne and Leclerc, not money magnet Stroll or once great hope Kubica. In other point, Buemi was never compared to Kubica as they never had the same car. So, your point about Buemi not being regarded higher than Kubica is deceiving. He was very closely matched with Ricciardo in terms of performance, spent decent time with Ferrari to learn about the modern F1 cars and meets the Martini age requirement. He is just one of many better options.

Question to you. On what basis do you think Kubica and Stroll are great choices for Williams team? Because Kubica story gives Williams 2 minutes of coverpage headline, which is likely to be forgotten within 2 or 3 races. Or Stroll family is helping keep Williams shareholders happy for now? I’m guessing you have a different view.

78

F zero, I'm not defending Williams' decision to take Stroll at all, but Kubica is a great talent and shouldn't be viewed as anything other than a performance selection. Robert was extremely highly rated in the sport, and spoken of in the same terms as Vettel and Hamilton. The idea that someone like Buemi might have had the same talent level is clearly incorrect, Robert had a Ferrari contract signed when he had his rally accident, if he can get back to the performance level he was at pre accident, then Williams will have pulled off a masterstroke.

79

TimW let’s have a look at what you just said here. You are basing Kubica’s current appointment based on how he was looked at before the accident. Because he was regarded as the next best thing, he just deserves a seat in Williams (based on Williams team’s decision I don’t think the deserve any good driver). Tell me honestly how ridiculous does that sound to you? If beating Stroll is the only benchmark for a Williams seat in F1, Williams deserve to be humiliated by a team like Force India.

80

F zero, yes his consideration is based on his pre accident ability level, and no I don't think that's ridiculous at all. Can Robert regain those heights? That's a question none of us can answer, we hope he can, but it is not certain either way. If his injuries do not prevent him driving as he used to, then there is no reason why he shouldn't come back at a high level, he is younger than Kimi and Fernando, and only two years older than Grosjean, so it's not as if he is too old now.
Beating Stroll is not a benchmark for anyone, and Robert doesn't deserve a drive based on past glories, but he does deserve to be considered. Williams will have a huge amount of data from the test to analyse, and when they have finished they will make their decision. After all that analysis, it us still a risk to take him, but there is an element of risk involved in any driver selection,

81

Neither had Kubica until recently. Neither would’ve Stroll without daddy’s bucks.

82

F zero, so why take Buemi who was never that highly rated over Kubica who was? Makes no sense.

83

Pascal
Felipe
Daniil
etc

84

Pascal whose inability to beat Ericsson convincingly enough caused him to be overtaken in the Merc young driver programme by Occon? Danil Kvyat who got sacked three times by the same team?! Or Felipe Massa who Williams know all about, and were so impressed they tried to get rid of him last year as well?! Hardly a list full of superstars is it?

85

Whoever it is, someone will have to vacate for Bottas' return in 2019.

86

Lkfe, you think Valterri will go back? He might, but it would be a bit of a comedown wouldn't it?

87

By golly, have you got all that a** about face or what?

88

What?

89

Not sure who you are replying to FZ but generally the ‘touting’’ of Robert Kubica as equal to Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso doesn’t quite hold water. Over 3 seasons together Heidfeld outscored Kubica by 140 points to 121 and also led in race finishes 28/23. Robert had the superior Q ability at 28/23 but they were very much matched and it looks as if reliability skewed the results for both of them. Nick never quite managed to break into the top tier and didn’t appear to have the ‘fire’ that Robert did/does. So I don’t agree with the assumption that Robert ‘was the best’. He was good but not the best. He has unfortunately taken on thrvaura of ‘the second coming’ due in no small measure to his enthusiastic fan base, and it has placed some unreasonable expectations on many people who are bound to be gutted if he doesn’t get the drive. I would still play a wild card here and go for Kvyat IF they can get his head right, and I agree Stroll needs to either perform or walk next year. His father’s bankrolling the team will not lead to anything more than missed opportunities. Heck, why doesn’t Stroll buy the team then he can do whatever he likes or better still, buy out Gene Haas who is going absolutely nowhere in F1.

90

Seems like our comments are getting mixed up with other people’s Baron. All good mate.

91

Whatever the outcome of this week: what he has achieved this year in coming back and eventually standing in front of the world stage at the awards ceremony is already super inspiring.

If there is someone who can push himself and the team it is Kubica.

It will be very sad if money in the end does the talking.

92

Kubica is bringing money as well!!

93

It would certainly be a feel good story and I really want him to return. However I have a nagging feeling that things just won't work out. It's probably more to do with 7 years away than the injury. Sadly age and time are not really on his side. Any return is likely to be a couple of seasons in the midfield at best.

I have my fingers crossed for him though.

94

Yeah, honestly, I've always liked Kubica and he was one of the best but can any driver really really be up to date after seven years off? For historical perspective, his last Formula 1 race also included Rubens Barrichello, Kamui Kobayashi, Jaime Alguersuari, Jarno Trulli, and several others who have left the league. I don't doubt his adaptability, and I would love to be wrong, but I think age and lack of practice are against him.

95

The counter is of course those still racing ie; Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Hulkenberg. Not bad company for Kubica. He is after all 3 years younger than Alonso and only 1 month older than Hamilton.

96

Williams already have acash cow in Stroll, they don't need another. If Kubica can come back and run as competitively as he did before, then the team gets a top line driver who could score enough points to move them up a position or two in the constructors, and all that positive publicity would be good for the sponsors as well.

97

Given how much the cars have changed and with his mobility issues Kubica is essentially a rookie with massive risk attached. Sirotkin is a rookie and a risk too, but he's one that pays better, so I'd go with Him. There is no guarantee that Kubica will win more points for the team. Poetry says Kubica but pragmatism says Sirotkin and dem bills won't pay themselves.

98

Aezy. I guess it comes down to potential doesn't it? Could Sirotkin ever reach the performance heights that Robert did? Probably not, could Robert get back to that level? Maybe.

99

So it comes down to money. Does Williams have to take a slower second best driver that can pay for his seat? When a team with such a championship heritage is reduced to this then F1 really has lost it’s way.

100

I don’t think it’s a good idea to put 2 young (Stroll & Sirotkin) drivers in a team looking to build up stronger challenge next year, especially when you are bringing newly designed car. With any disabilities or compromises Kubica may be carrying, you can be sure that he will be consistent, Williams have the data. On circuits favouring him or challenging his disabilities the least, he can surely bring out best out of his car. Stroll is still developing and his on/off performances this year do not invoke confidence in understanding true potential strengths and weaknesses of the car. Sirotkin can wait a little for his chance. Also Williams should look at Kvyat for 2019. With one year break he would have got enough time to rethink and recollect his lost confidence. He has good pace, all he needs is team with little more accommodating attitude. There’s no reason why he won’t perform well in a different team than Torro Rosso or RedBull.
Kubica has only one chance and if Williams don’t opt for him, he will have to consider it as the end of his opportunity in F1. I think Williams and Kubica both will have win win situation if they come together.

101

@SARANG, i agree. Williams needs the maturity that Kubica can bring. Stroll just finished his maiden season in F1, after skipping F2... so he very much needs a mentor. Kvyat doesn't have that maturity. Kubica has the potential to be a strong partner too. When Kubica drove for the inferior BMW he was on par with Massa in terms of talent. Would I expect a podium from Kubica in Melbourne? heck no... but do i see a handful of podiums by year end, yeah.

My 2 cents... Williams should hire Kubica as primary with 1yr contract, and hire Sirotkin as reserve for 2018 with FP1 time... then re-evaluate at summer break.

102

verstappen and sainz didn’t do too badly at rosso.

103

I'd have Kvyat in the seat in 2018. He is quick and will show it again sans the shadow that Marko casts over him.

104

I fear for Robert.
If he does not produce results from the off his fairytail could descend into a nightmare.
The F1 paddock is a very unforgiving place to work.

105

It might be a bit different if that turns out to be the case: I think the paddock would applaud him for coming back and the struggle to get there in the first place, so I would expect that it would be dealt with a great deal of tact.

It's not like he'd be cursed out for being exposed - he is a previous race winner and showed amazing skill in his last full racing year.

106
The Grape Unwashed

If Kubica comes back as a lesser driver than he once was, I wonder what the point of his return is? I think the old Kubica would have shone in both the Renault and Williams tests - but after Renault had tested him, they held on to Palmer for a few more races. A Kubica at 98% might be able to do a respectable job, but teams ought to be looking for more than that.

I have another concern: having dropped Massa, Williams no longer has a reliable benchmark by which to judge Stroll - a driver who has shown only flashes of brilliance amongst a sea of mediocrity. If they partner Stroll with an unknown quantity, how can they gauge the worth of either their drivers or the car? This seems like another step backwards for a team which has already been shown wanting by Force India, a team working with a much smaller budget.

107

Wow!
Williams dropped Massa!
I must have missed that headline!

108
The Grape Unwashed

You're right, they didn't drop him. They just opened their hands and he failed to cling on.

109
Cédric Baumgartner

Hire Kubica and show us you still have a passion and a heart!

110

Passion and heart don't keep the lights on. Only $$$$$ can do that.

111

They already have Stroll for keeping the lights on.

112

Just exactly how much do you think Stroll brings to the table?

113

No idea, as much as it takes.

114

I wondered if the new f1 owners would have any involvement in edging kubica into their seat? Would be a great story for f1. Although at the same time he does need to be competitive or else it could be a negative story.

I really really want it to work out. I can't believe he's got even this far. If he doesn't get a seat he has still done so amazingly well to test competitively. Could a team find room for him as a test/reserve driver?

115

Mr. E would be involved in brokering a deal if he was still involved.

116
Clarks4WheelDrift

Sorry to say it but I think, despite being incredibly hard to tell, he may have not done enough and was not quick enough in the test to make it certain. But is anyone else better?

Williams should test again, a proper shoot out with all their prospective drivers on same setups for speed laps first then for consistency over a number of laps and include Massa as a benchmark as you can tell nothing from Stroll's times recently.

Kub, Siro, Kvy, PdR, Wher, the next young big deal, whoever, all have question marks over them at the moment.

Williams are is a dire "marketing" position, where their old guy Massa, who admittedly looked like he woke up a few races from retirement and drove faster, was hammering Lance Stroll's times. So Williams are locked into inconsistency due to the cash and alreadly look like StrollF1 instead of the great team that once was Williams. To add on top of this another questionable pay driver that could be seen as giving hope to Kubica after all he has been through then extinguishing his F1 dream is a disaster. Equally though, they need to cut out all of the "feel-good story" rubbish as they need the fastest possible driver alongside Stroll or it could be the end of them. You all saw what Massa did so imagine the step up if they had a couple of faster pilots.

I feel sorry for F1 that it is so expensive and complex that Williams have been reduced to this, it's bad enough the PU mess means they are a 2nd level customer handicapped team never to win another race, but throw in the driver mess and well...enough said.

117

If the drivers in that pool are all within a few tenths, which I assume they are, then you pick based on other criteria: development potential, leadership, marketing, and $$$.

118

I feel a movie coming on. Now how much would that be worth to Williams?

119

Amazing story.... fairytale ending..... blah blah blah. The real shame and tragedy in this merry go round will be the loss of Pascal Wehrline from the sport. A possible star in the making and a great fit for williams I would think.

120

What I find rather puzzling in the stories about Williams/Kubica is how so many people refer to the 2017 Williams car as a dog of a car, a total disaster, and how they hope this historic team can find a way back to its former glory. I agree about this returning to former glory, but when Massa, a man who was absolutely crushed by Alonso when they were at Ferrari (he was often a second or more behind him in qualifying) and hasn't been his sharpest since the 2009 accident anyway, manages to qualify the car 6th, 7th, 8th quite consistently during the first half of the season, doesn't that mean the car was actually a pretty terrific car, arguably even a car capable of pole and victory in the hands of a great driver?

121

arguably even a car capable of pole and victory in the hands of a great driver?

Don't think so, the car simply didn't have the downforce. Someone like Alonso could have got it a few places higher on the grid and scrambled a few podiums but I think poles and wins is a stretch.

122

stroll put that car on the podium and alonso got nowhere near smelling the podium.

123

Yes so Stroll is clearly a better driver than Alonso.

They should get you as a pundit on Sky.

124

why are facts so difficult for you to accept?
biternes cause diseases..

125

I wouldn't say pole, but I have a feeling the drivers didn't quite deliver what the car was ultimately capable of.

126

I have seen reports that Kubica managed to gather about £8 million in sponsorship, which made Williams express a bit more interest, and likely made him a stronger candidate than Paul Di Resta, yet the end of this report is being staged as "Kubica, or Sirotkin with money" as if the Russian is the only one coming with sponsorship.

127

Williams having been missing the trick that Force India have been doing at getting the best and max out of a tight budget. They simply haven't been up to the job or performed well enough as a team to get the best results possible. Kubica does present a big risk, is he once the driver he was? Can he perform at all tracks? Can he make the season? But then sticking a fragile Kryat, unexperienced Sirotkin or solid Di Resta presents risks too for the team
It would be a great PR story for the sport and Williams if he came back. But feel good factor doesn't mean results or points in the bag and its going to be tight next year with Renault and Mclaren if those teams make the jump up that they promise. That said from what I have seen of the options I would gamble and go for Kubica. He will push the team and himself (Williams badly need abit of spark or fire to get them moving).

128

Exactly. Williams needs some spark, fire from within, an exceptional story to motivate them from their dismal performances in last few years. Kubica might be the one they need.

Also, they don't have many options which are far better than Kubica. Kvyat definitely is a fast driver and deserves a chance in F1, but needs a little break to regain his confidence. Sirotkin is untested quantity in F1, future F1 driver for sure but he is young and will have enough time to prove himself. Paul deResta is reliable, may be as fast as Kubica but not getting any younger and definitely not a long term prospect. He is already a reserve driver and is a good fall back solution if Kubica option goes terribly wrong. All in all Kubica is most likely the best way to go for Williams IMO.

129

A motivated Happy Kvyat all day...

130

As long as he has he speed and aggression needed to pull Williams out of this rut of theirs then I am happy for him to take the seat....Best ppl to know that is Williams at this point so fingers crossed.

131

Williams + Stroll + Kubica = Massive media coverage in / out of FP week ends = massive sympathy capital potential = phoenix factor = passion magic = $$$$$$ + motivation = win

Williams + Stroll + Sirotkin = ... next please?

No brainer.

132

*GP* not FP!

133

Can Williams afford not to take Kubica at this point?

I mean, from what we can tell from the tests, Kubica was not bad. He has a lot of fans and liked by many. It became such a hyped up story that I wonder if Williams can afford not to take him even if they would not want to anymore: they would come out as the bad guy. That could be quite a backlash.

Personally, I hope they go with Kubica. He would still be a great drive to help with the development for the car. Williams could have a great PR year with it and have someone to help develop the car. And if Kubica turns out not to be as good anymore, the results will be clear and Williams would not be the bad guy when they decide not to continue the contract after the season.

134

I think that sums it up perfectly VJ

135

Whoever they go with I think Williams will once again not have a stellar lineup as was the case this year - it is sad to see WIlliams 'scratching' around like this. I think it would be crazy to take Kubica as at best he will be competent, but I guess the 'edge' won't be there anymore. I don't know a lot about Sirotkin - and the other names bandied about don't get me terribly excited.

136

Today's F1 funny is brought to you by Lego. That's right, the friendly toy company has just released a new Lego set. But...but what can be wrong with a Lego set Sebee?

https://shop.lego.com/en-CA/MERCEDES-AMG-PETRONAS-Formula-One-Team-75883

Well, you see, it has cars #6 and #44, but both are driven by "yellow" mini figure faces. Now Lego has darker skin color faces to represent other ethnicities, but here in this set the #44 has been taken over by a "yellow" faced driver. Insensitive? Inaccurate? White washing? Or did Lewis not give Lego rights to his "image"? Whatever it is, that doesn't look like Lego Lewis should look to me!

137
Clarks4WheelDrift

Kids won't be bothered by that, they'll just be interested in the Number 6 car and driver, you know the world champion...

If that's a new lego set, they're a year too late 😉

138

I admit that i saw this a few months back... perhaps Lego getting the driver's permission to use their likeness may have been a bit more expensive. I note that the set doesn't specifically say they are Lewis and Nico. Also, on the subject of colour, they didn't really capture the Petronas teal either, and they have bricks of a more similar colour than flat green.

That said, in the early 2000s they made Ferrari sets and had Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa!

139

I have those Ferrari sets. The transport truck and the garage. I don't like much modern lego, but they got me with those. And all the modular buildings. And that 41999...but not this weak Porsche 911. For that money it should have had power functions and lights.

Only set I regret not getting is that Williams F1 car. That was nice. At the time this guy built a Tyrell 6 wheeler, and it was so killer, by comparison it made the Williams car look weak.

140

...here is the link straight to the MOC (my own creations) page in case you have a hard time. Then just shuffle through the builds with the arrow in the top right corner above each model.

http://roscopc.it/#/2

...guys is a genius!

141

...just look at this Tyrell! This RoscoPC guys is a sick Lego genius. You should see the details around this build.

Anyhow...he's here (link below) and he's built tons of classic F1 cars to incredible detail level out of Lego. If there is a website worth looking at during off season, it is this one. These things should be sets to be honest.

http://roscopc.it/#/

142

Also, this Ferrari set isn't accurate: https://shop.lego.com/en-CA/Scuderia-Ferrari-SF16-H-75879
The driver of #7 is actually smiling.

143
Clarks4WheelDrift

😉 Smiling, maybe because the lego set includes this piece for Kimi...

144

Ok...that made me laugh, hard!

145

Oh no. Two Japanese drivers in the Mercedes AMG Lego team?

146

That’s a really good point but I believe the only insensitive and inaccurate one here, is you Mr CB.

147

How so? Lewis is yellow and they have the accurate color stock available. Should kids only see yellow headed Lego F1 drivers? A decision was made here during set design, don't doubt that for a second. Plus, why do Dads have to explain this error to their kids?

148

While we're griping Sebee, remember when Lego was Lego? When each set was made up of a brilliant selection of standard pieces that could fit together to build whatever you wanted (even if it did end up looking like an F2012) and not a set of specialised custom pieces that could be used to build what they were meant to build?

*sigh*

Anyway, yellow face is easily fixed - Hollywood has been doing it for decades.

Just be prepared for a little internet backlash 😉

149

Random, you've just hit a serious pain point on that toy for me. It used to be a creative toy, and now it's a 3D puzzle. You now build it and that's that.

But if profitability and success are the measurement of the company, Lego right now with all the licences is really what has made it as successful as it is and most profitable ever, so how does your opinion and my agreement measure against what they've done to the product?

If you look at Lego Idea Book 6000 or 250 you can see that open creativity and possibility, and most importantly playability. You could buy a few sets and combined together you had tons of possibilities. Today...you can buy fifty sets and with all the specialized pieces and rainbow of colors you can't build a darn thing. Even the sets don't show any alternate models...at best you get a second model on the giant sets. Never mind the building styles, how hard it is to disassemble a finished build and how many tiny pieces frustrate small finger's ability to handle them.

It used to be simple, offer limitless building possibilities, easy play. Now...it's all a mess. But you should see my "secret stash". I've got some sealed sets from 1978-1985 period that let me time travel back to that time. It's much easier done to travel to Lego eras past than to travel back to V10 F1 era. Can't keep a 20,000 RPM ready to fire F1 V10 around...safely. Plus even if you had one, it's not the same as having 20 racing in anger.

150

What if Lewis was consulted by Lego and he is the one who chose the yellow Lego head for himself? 🙂

151
Tornillo Amarillo

Jake, is that Williams is putting pressure on Kubica to bring a sponsor, money, with him?
What is the finance for Williams next year, they may be fighting just for P6 or lower, getting backwards, save if the car matches for example Force India.
What could a different driver do to battle McLaren, Renault in the midfield next year? Better to take the Russian money?
But who will do the feedback for setup, is Sirotkin good enough for that?

152
Tornillo Amarillo

OH! The perfect combination of experience, speed and maybe Russian money could be... Danii Kvyat!

But he will be only 24 in April, 2018.

153
Clarks4WheelDrift

24 going on 54 the way he has been treated by Marko!

154

Would Kvyat be a a good choice in a team that historically has been averse to coddling their drivers? I know Daniil got the short end of the stick with Red Bull, but would Williams be the best bet for a return to F1?

155

Yes. He would be my choice no well and truly old enough to advertise alcoholic products in any country, unlike Stroll.

156

Kubica ought to take on the motoring media as Lauda did upon his return to F1 after his horrific crash, " . . as long as I have a right foot, I can drive." I.e. as they say, Lauda was 'throwing shade' at the journalists as to their understanding of the sport and what it took to drive a car fast.

157

And he certainly proved his point in the process ! A most relevant post.

158

I think some people are being really quite unfair to Sergey Sirotkin. He's not Sakon Yamamoto. He brings good money, but has also enjoyed a strong junior career to data. He's been put in the shade by some very, very quick drivers but I've no doubt he could do a good job in F1.

And that, I think, could partially solve Williams' dilemma. They could sign Kubica in the race seat and cut a deal with Sirotkin for 6-10 FP sessions as test and reserve. That way they've got a Plan B if problems emerge with Robert's fitness and capabilities later on.

It's a tough call for them all over, though. Yes, Kubica represents a potential Top Tier (or at least Second Tier) driver for very little money, but the Yas Marina test wasn't able to answer all the questions about him. With Pascal Wehrlein going begging after having answered his own doubters quite comprehensively, I think I'd be looking to him (and a discount from Mercedes, natch) instead. I'd love to see Kubica back, though.

159

Get in the Christmas spirit, FAST!

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/style/a13995403/of-course-the-mclaren-f1-gtr-is-a-great-christmas-tree-hauler/

Wonder if any needles were left on the tree upon arrival home...

160

Why does it have to be an either or binary choice, teams are allowed four drivers throughout a season. Robert Kubica has impressed me with his competitive drive and proven ability to improve the car with feedback to his engineers. The only unknown is has ability to drive an F1 car in an F1 competitive environment.

161

Not sure why people refer back to Kubica's previous time in F1 - whether he is as good as he was then is irrelevant. He would be racing those that are around now and can only be compared to them - he was good and considered a threat by Lewis but can only ever be an indication of his desire. One point I do consider relevant is that neither Renault or Williams had any issue over his controlling the car - any driver change in a test takes time to move pedals etc and it only appears his special need is a revised steering wheel layout. That also suggests a wheel is not as expensive as some suggest - they might cost a fortune to develop but they are obviously not that expensive to build a revised layout.
On another point I notice the car in the photo is as driven at the last race - James - what happened to the red in the Martini stripes? Haves asked before but nobody seems to have an answer.

162

Apparently the red is removed to not advertise Martini as alcohol. Or something like that.

163

This was actually asked (and answered) in the comments not too long ago - Search and you too will find the answers you seek 😉

164

Hi James, is Sirotkin offering so much more than Wehrlein (with his Mercedes backing)? I noticed Sirotkin is around Pasal's age so what happened to the Martini age limit farce?

Thanks!

165

No doubt Sirotkin is competent, but Williams would always be left wondering “How would Robert had faired in that session?”

166

It just has to be Kubica. His hunger has driven him so incredibly far. Considering his circuimstances, I have utmost respect for him as both professional driver, and more importantly, as a man. Given a chance and more training, he will shine again just as he did in the past. C'mon Williams, just sign him already!

167

If Williams choose Sirotkyn then they will be the most boring team in the paddock.
Kubica may deliver experience, feedback and chance for a mythical comeback for a victory ... that may come true

168

I think F1 is showing a rare glimpse of a caring heart by considering Kubica. He was a great driver cut short.

However i am getting the feeling that he wasnt quick enough. He used to have blazing speed, that was his main party trick.

If he still had that he would have been signed already.

169

Kvyat for the Win..

170

There is absolutely no reason to pick Robert Kubica over Sergei Sirotkin besides emotional reasons. Everybody is only paying attention to his handicap and get all excited after he does 100 laps. Yes he was a really good driver before the accident and yes he can still drive a f1 faster then most of us these days. But if you look at lap times alone you will see notice the dream is over. Both Stroll and Sirotkin are a lot faster then Kubica even if they only did a few laps. Kubica is a temporary billboard for Williams nothing more.

171

I think Force India could be the biggest loser next year as the 2018 Williams will have been designed under Paddy Lowe’s watch and I suspect it will move them towards the front of the mid field pack.
Force India as efficient as they are, are likely to fall behind McLaren & Renault too.

172

Jake. Completely off topic but you sir, have my all time favourite initials. JBL. I say, well played to your parents..😎

173

Too much noise around Kubica. What did he accomplish in the past? He was constantly beaten by Nick Heidefeld at BMW

174

The noise is because he had a lot of fans who still feel a sense of loss about what could have been for him. Hugely talented, future potential champion. If he hadn't been injured he'd probably be sitting in a top seat now. He's a real racer who wasn't just another overly polished pay driver.

175

KUB is not good as he was.
Test data from Polish journalists on SOFT tyres (KUB had longer runs then SIR):
Seria 1
KUB SIR
1:45.834 1:45.487
1:45.634 1:44.991
1:45.522 1:48.775
1:45.060 1:46.294
1:44.665 1:44.728
1:44.793 1:44.797
1:44.624 1:44.681
1:44.832 1:44.439
1:44.810 1:44.289
1:44.514 1:44.323
1:44.496
1:45.298

Seria 2
KUB SIR
1:44.038 1:43.876
1:44.046 1:43.689
1:44.039 1:43.775
1:44.104 1:43.562
1:44.378 1:43.562
1:44.258 1:43.406
1:44.435 1:43.825
1:44.344 1:43.422
1:44.169
1:44.436
1:44.685
1:45.748

Seria 3
KUB SIR
1:44.708 1:43.649
1:44.311 1:43.795
1:44.227 1:43.917
1:44.038 1:43.703
1:45.025 1:43.560
1:44.308 1:43.867
1:50.131 1:43.704
1:44.670 1:43.331
1:44.912
1:44.805
1:44.676
1:51.630

KUB didn't have result less then 1:44 instead of SIR

176

"Kubica fared strongly ... indicating that his pace increases with more time in a car."

Not necessarily. While all drivers should naturally perform better with more time in the car, this is a simplistic conclusion to have arrived at. There is an important variable which seems to have been overlooked here: the different nature of both circuits. The Hungaroring has long corners and lots of high- and low-speed direction changes, whereas Yas Marina has one high-speed direction change (T2-3) and three chicanes, and short corners. So it may just be a case of Kubica struggling at technical circuits and being better when there are fewer demands on his arms.

177

It would be a fairy tale story for Kubica to return but seems increasingly unlikely that he will.

If he were up to speed it would be obvious by now but the fact its taken so many tests and still no clearer suggests he just doesn't have anything special to give anymore.

He was nearly 1 second slower than Massa's times in Abu Dhabi test. Granted not back to back but that's a huge gulf.

So if he has nothing special to offer other than a feel good story, and appears to be slower than Massa, wouldn't it be better for Williams to get a younger talent with some cash for 2018?

Then in 2019 Bottas returns... because doesn't look like any other team manager on the grid wants him.

178

Well, the net is buzzing with speculation and there’s a whole salty mob besieging Williams Twitter feed. What can it all mean? There are some extraordinarily rude things being said about Claire and the team. Just awful. Never mind the halo, this kind of behaviour is off my radar and it plain turns me off that I might be sharing a grandstand with these people. Nope...

179

With so many talented British drivers about, I would very much like Williams to put one of them in their car. The level of participation in motorsport in Britain is enormous with more than a dozen circuits running full racing programmes every weekend throughout the season. I don't believe this is equalled anywhere else in the world.

180

The thing is Lance Stroll needs a teammate who's older and experienced to mentor Stroll (in just about anything related to racing). Stroll just can't do it on his own. He's a nice kid, i really like him as a person and wish him al the best, but as a race driver he just ain't good enough. Especially when it comes to F1 which is way out of his league. If it wasn't for Massa mentoring him and all the extra testing throughout the year etc. he would be last place in every GP. There´s only one reason he´s in F1 and that is daddy´s money and Williams who needs it. Daddy´s cash is infinite so that ain´t the problem. The problem is Massa who retired. So they need a replacement and this is main reason to think about signing someone like Kubica. His dad is pulling a lot of strings at Williams because of his wealth and he doesn't want his son to look bad. If it wasn't for this the normal logical thing would be to sign a young talented driver. But then Stroll would probably finish last or close to last every GP.
The other reason to let Kubica test for Williams is just marketing.
There's not a single reason to take someone as Kubica. If it wasn't for the Stroll's they probably would have signed Wehrlein for 2018.

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