Flavio Briatore admits it is a shame that Robert Kubica was not able to clinch a racing return to Formula 1 after the Pole was overlooked in favour of Sergey Sirotkin for the Williams Martini Racing seat.
Six years on from his horror rallying accident, Kubica tested with both Williams and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in the latter part of 2017, and former Renault and Benetton F1 Team chief Briatore was disappointed that Kubica did not manage to do enough to convince Williams he was the guy to join the team in 2018.
Briatore also feels the substantial financial backing Sirotkin has will have been a factor in the decision, but had Kubica returned to a race seat, rather than in a reserve driver that he has ultimately ended up with, it would have been a major success and a huge talking point for Formula 1.
“I’m very sorry that Kubica did not manage to convince Williams,” said Briatore to Speed Week, just prior to Sirotkin’s announcement.
“Everything has been tried, but the Russian has an enormous budget. We’re talking about 20 million. Kubica could muster between seven and ten.
“If Robert had returned to Formula 1, it would have been a major success for the sport. I find it very strange that the F1 leadership did not lend him a helping hand.”