Robert Kubica, who is widely tipped as Williams Martini Racing‘s likely choice for the successor of the retired Felipe Massa, has spoken extensively for the first time in Williams team apparel and insisted that he is not looking to return to Formula 1 to make up the numbers. The Pole, who headlined Williams’ line-up at the post-race tyre test in Abu Dhabi last week, emphasised that he will only satisfy his goals if he can be competitive in 2018.
Should Williams announce Kubica, it would be the culmination of a veritable fairy-tale comeback. Before 2017, Robert had not driven an F1 car since pre-season testing in 2011, after which a horrendous crash in the Ronde di Andora rally in 2011 left him with grievous injuries and almost resulted in the total amputation of his right-arm.
“In the end the story is nice, but there are no discounts for the story,” he retorted. “I appreciate it because I think there is a lot of hope. There is a lot of wish of a lot of people.
“But in the end I know how is reality. And the reality is like this: once I’m in the car there is no story anymore, it is me myself with the car, with the team and the job has to be done. Formula 1 is a special world. But once you have a helmet everything disappears, so you have to be in a position to deliver.”
It had been anticipated that Williams would announce the identity of the driver partnering Lance Stroll in the wake of the Abu Dhabi, however, the delay has led many to speculate that Kubica’s performance was inconclusive. The Grove-based outfit also ran Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin in Abu Dhabi, and is also believed to be in talks with Paul di Resta and Daniil Kvyat, with Pascal Wehrlein on the cusp of slipping out of the running.
On the delay, Kubica replied, “I think it’s a bit normal as there are a lot of question marks, and everybody has their own opinion. I have to be sure that I am able to do it. For sure, every day is giving me a lot of confidence that things can work out pretty well,” he explained. “And for my standard ‘pretty well’ means it has to be high level.
“In the end, I have to make sure if I get the chance I have to be ready,” he said. “I have to be as prepared as I can for if something is coming. If I coming back I’m not here to just do a number,” he insisted. “I have to make sure although I’m seven years away with my limitations I will be able to provide my best possibilities and be the best Robert Kubica which I know.”