Paddy Lowe says the main aim of testing Robert Kubica during next weeks test in Abu Dhabi is to see whether or not he can cope with the modern demands of Formula 1 machinery with the injuries he suffered back in 2011 whilst rallying.
Kubica will share driving duties with Russian racer Sergey Sirotkin at the Yas Marina Circuit, and Chief Technical Officer Lowe wants to see how the Pole will cope with their FW40 as the team continue to assess the contenders to replace Felipe Massa alongside Lance Stroll in the Williams Martini Racing squad in 2018.
Lowe insists Kubica is an exciting prospect for the ride, but he is not the only driver in contention, with Sirotkin, Paul di Resta, Pascal Wehrlein and Daniil Kvyat all being linked to the vacancy since the announcement was made that Massa was to retire at the end of the season.
“Robert is an impressive guy,” said Lowe. “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 programme and in the process we can answer those questions.”
Lowe insists Williams will make a decision on Kubica purely on what he can do on track rather than looking at the emotional side of the story, with many fearing that the 2011 accident was a Formula 1 career-ending one.
“I pick that up – a lot of people do say that how great it would be if Robert was back in F1 – we’ll see,” Lowe added. “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.”