Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok believes that “teams can’t hire drivers based on their past“, and that whilst former Williams Martini Racing hopeful Robert Kubica was brilliant at his peak, he’s had more opportunities to find a seat in Formula 1 than most drivers have.
Kubica was looking to follow in the footsteps of drivers like Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, returning to Formula 1 following a break from the sport, however that has, for now, been put on hold.
The Polish driver’s first stint in Formula 1 came between 2006 and 2010 and proved reasonably successful, returning one win and twelve podiums from his seventy-six race starts. In 2011 he nearly lost his right arm in a crash while taking part in the Ronde di Andora rally.
Having expressed an interest in returning to Formula 1 last year the Polish driver tested with both Williams and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, however both teams passed up on the offer of Kubica, with Williams giving Felipe Massa‘s old seat to Renault’s former reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin.
Speaking on a live podcast recording at Autosport International, Chandhok, who now works as part of Channel 4’s Formula 1 broadcast team, said that whilst it’s a shame that Kubica didn’t find a seat this year, it’s not through a lack of opportunities.
“It’s a shame for him, but I think they gave him plenty of opportunities to really prove that he deserves a seat in a meritocratic way.
“I can’t think of many other drivers who have had this many opportunities with two teams to test and prove themselves capable of having a race seat.”I don’t think you can say he hasn’t had a fair chance to be evaluated.
“I know Robert quite well. We’ve been friends since we raced together in World Series in 2005 and he’s a great lad and at his peak before his accident he was utterly brilliant.
“But the reality is teams can’t hire drivers based on the past, they have to hire drivers based on their circumstances and their performance today.
“It’s a shame for the sport and for Robert obviously that it’s not worked out.”
Whilst he won’t be lining up on the grid this year, Kubica will be a Williams team member; he signed as their new reserve driver last week.