Claire Williams insists Robert Kubica would be a ‘fantastic team-mate’ to George Russell but the Pole is just one driver on a small list of possible to race for Williams Martini Racing in 2019.
However, Kubica says he would need a decision made before the end of November to whether or not he will be promoted to the seat as he wants his future sorted out sooner rather than later.
Kubica is the current test and reserve driver for Williams but has competition for the race seat from the likes of current Williams racer Sergey Sirotkin and Racing Point Force India F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon.
Williams, the deputy team principal of the Grove-based team, says the process to determine the team-mate of FIA Formula 2 championship leader Russell has already begun, but should they opt for Kubica, they are sure he would do a great job alongside the Mercedes-Benz protégé.
“We have a short shortlist for the second seat, which we are evaluating,” said Williams during Friday’s press conference at the Circuit of the Americas. “We started that evaluation process a good few weeks ago now.
“We always said we wanted to make this decision based on pure data, and to get the best talent from within that pool of drivers that we have.
“So we’re working through that at the moment. Robert is absolutely on that list as are a handful of other drivers who all have talent as well. Robert has done a great job for the team this year and he would be a fantastic team-mate to George.
“But we’re not ready to make that final decision yet. We’ve still got conversations to have internally and with the drivers in question.”
Williams admits the decision to select Russell’s team-mate is going to take time, much like the selection of Sirotkin for the 2018 season, but at no time will they be rushed into it.
“We have to make the right decision based on lots of different factors and there are other considerations that we have to take into account as well,” said Williams.
“It’s very early as well from a sponsorship perspective, we don’t know where we’re going to be yet exactly from a partnership perspective and any new partners that are going to come on board and obviously if they do then it frees us up to make other decisions potentially.
“So we’ve got to go through that process, so we don’t want to rush into a decision.”
Kubica himself says he cannot wait until December for the decision to be made as he wants to sort out his own racing future, which he feels will be outside of Formula 1 if the Williams seat goes to someone else.
“If she said this, maybe it’s correct,” said Kubica to Sky F1 about Williams’ comments. “Time will show. Time is running, I don’t want to wait as it was last year. Hopefully there will be some decisions earlier than it was [then].
“Of course the target will be to be on the grid next year, but as I said, I cannot wait until December. The situation is quite clear, and we will see.
“I think the team is evaluating different scenarios, and they are right to do it. And I’m doing on my side some other stuff. So we’ll see if there will be a common agreement or not.
“But as I said, I’m focussed on let’s say seeing other opportunities, because I don’t want to find out myself in December or whenever it will be that it’s too late, and having nothing.”