Paddy Lowe says Robert Kubica will need to ‘earn the right’ for a Formula 1 seat should the Pole be in contention again for the 2019 season.
Kubica was beaten to the final seat on the grid by Sergey Sirotkin but will be the Williams Martini Racing Reserve and Development Driver in 2018, and will participate in a number of free practice sessions and in pre and in-season tests with the Grove-based team.
Lowe, the Chief Technical Officer at Williams, has praised how hard Kubica has worked to get back near to a Formula 1 race seat after his horror rallying crash back in early 2011, and he feels that was there more seats available on the grid, he would be on the grid this season.
However, should there be opportunities to rejoin the grid in 2019, Lowe says Kubica needs to do everything he can to prove he deserves the drive.
“Robert has been on a journey to find his way back to Formula 1, from the trauma that occurred to his arm in the rally accident,” said Lowe to Motorsport.com. “And all credit to him, it’s required an incredible commitment, a lot of bravery and a lot of dedication to that objective.
“And he’s on that journey, and I think with us this next year as the development driver that journey will continue. Ultimately, it’s not always about what’s missing – it’s a competitive market, to obtain a race seat. There are many more very, very talented drivers than there are seats.
“And Robert would want it no other way. He’s got to earn the right to the race seat, whatever race seats may be available in 2019.”
Lowe believes Kubica said would be competitive should he get the opportunity to race, and he said that had they not believed that to be the case, he would not have been in contention even to be the reserve driver in 2018.
“He would be fine, we’re very confident of that,” said Lowe. “Otherwise he wouldn’t be our reserve driver, if we didn’t think he was competent to race…
“And not just competent, able to perform well in the race, to race competitively.”