Robert Kubica has completed the first day of post-season testing at the Yas Marina Circuit with Williams Martini Racing, as the team looks to make a decision on their 2018 partner for Lance Stroll.
Watched by Paddy Lowe, Rob Smedley and his managers Alessandro Alunni Bravi and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, Kubica ran for 100 laps on numerous different tyre compounds, ending his run eighth fastest overall with a time of 1:41.296, before handing over to Stroll who completed the day’s work.
It is believed that Williams were satisfied with the Pole’s performance and the data from it. They will evaluate him once again on Wednesday, after Renault Sport Formula One Team reserve Sergey Sirotkin finishes his duties.
Kubica is set to run all of the 2018 spec slick compounds, bar the hard and the super-hard. That includes the new, pink-walled hyper-soft tyre.
The mixture of short and long runs was designed to test Kubica’s consistency and physical capability, seven years on from his last Formula 1 race, coincidentally at the Yas Marina track.
The one-time Grand Prix winner is not a total stranger to the new generation cars, having taken part in the official in-season test with former team Renault at the Hungaroring in August.
However, there are still fears that the catastrophic injuries he suffered in a rally crash in February 2011 will hamper him; FIA president Jean Todt believes that if Kubica can pass the designated medical tests for drivers, he will be able to compete sufficiently.
That will please Williams, who still have Kubica as their number one replacement for the officially retired Felipe Massa – the decision is expected before Christmas.
Reserve Paul di Resta – who deputised for the ill Massa at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Sirotkin and Red Bull programme refugee Daniil Kvyat after the next three options, with Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team junior Pascal Wehrlein now reportedly out of the running, with his future at the Sauber F1 Team looking increasingly bleak despite scoring the team’s only points of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Kimi Räikkönen ended the day fastest for Scuderia Ferrari.