Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Kubica will substitute if Stroll or Sirotkin can’t race – Lowe

2018 F1 season

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Robert Kubica will race for Williams if either of its regular drivers is unable to, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has told RaceFans.

The 33-year-old, who made his last F1 start in 2010, has been appointed the team’s reserve and development driver for the upcoming season.

Some F1 teams have not always used their reserve drivers as substitutes when a regular driver is unable to race. In 2013 Lotus passed over official reserve driver Davide Valsecchi when Kimi Raikkonen missed two races due to injury and gave the seat to Heikki Kovalainen instead.

Williams FW41, 2018
Williams FW41: Technical analysis
Last year Williams ran reserve driver Paul di Resta when Felipe Massa was unable to participate in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Speaking exclusively to RaceFans, Lowe confirmed Kubica will “absolutely” get the same chance and he is preparing for it accordingly.

“The guy’s at racing weight,” said Lowe. “Imagine the commitment he’s putting in to be at racing weight. That’s a tough life.”

“But that’s what he’s doing and that shows the commitment of the guy to support the role we’ve given him.”

Kubica sees his role at the team as more about improving the car than improving himself.

“Every day you can learn something new,” he said. “In the end of the year, this is guessing, but I think I will be [a] better – maybe not driver, because in the end when I am jumping in the car I have different priorities and so it’s not about fine-tuning and small details – my job is more about getting [the] global picture, more about feedback, trying to find weaker points of the car and trying to give suggestions and give ideas to improve the car.”

He also expects to help give confidence to the team’s drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin.

“Approaching the new tracks we have Sergey which has never been in Australia. Also Lance it will be his second time. It’s important to give them confidence that the car will do what they want and will be working well in every possible condition.

“Of course it’s not easy to do it, it will for sure require time. But this is I think a fair point and a fair target to achieve.”

Read our full exclusive interview with Paddy Lowe later today on RaceFans.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Kubica will substitute if Stroll or Sirotkin can’t race – Lowe”

  1. That’s just stating the obvious. He is their reserve driver isn’t he?

    1. @bonbonjai Reserve drivers don’t always get to be substitutes, as explained.

      1. Reserve drivers aren’t always Robert Kubica

        1. Haha, N has won that exchange :)

        2. N
          Can you image the media scrum if that happened? And a good story too, well for Kubica.

      2. Racing weight. Is that a dig at Di Resta. Di Resta was definitely not, at racing weight.
        Kubica has always been lanky, but you can tell he’s leaner than before as he’s always saying.
        Lowe might not have the final say though.
        Last year with no FP (thanksmassa) middle of the season, there was no way Di Resta was going to perform. However if Robert was presented the same chance and was capable of emulating Di Resta, the current drivers would then be under a lot more pressure.

  2. Time to start slipping the laxative into the cups of tea…

    1. hahaha+1

  3. Reserve and development driver. He doing it all for the team. How nobel.

    1. It is nobel. Gifting your elite expertise is a deeply personal thing, don’t undersell it.

    2. he is getting paid. which is more than you can say for sirotkin and stroll….

      1. @frood19 It would make little sense to get paid from sombody that you yourself fund. Sirotkin and Stroll are paid by who pays both them and Williams.

        1. @damon that was my point, never mind.

  4. Judging by Stroll’s past performance we should expect to see Kubica in the seat for Melbourne then?

    1. +1 he definately can’t race

    2. Without knowing how influential the Stroll money is on Williams strategic outlook, I’m expecting Lance to race at Melbourne. After all, he was retained from last season. I can’t but help suspect Robert is part of a contingency plan. I think the question is will we see RK doing FP1 at Bahrain.

  5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    16th March 2018, 11:44

    When Williams is already locked in a position at the WCC standings, Kubica should be given a farewell race. That’s it.

    1. Indeed, that doesn’t damage williams at all, no matter how he performs!

  6. Is that physically “can’t race” or skill-wise “can’t race”? :p

    1. Unfortunately, they mean physically :(

      1. Can’t let the guy drive two cars at the same time :)

  7. I’d be willing to sabotage them for Kubica.

  8. ”Approaching the new tracks we have Sergey which has never been in Australia.”
    – What a weird wording, LOL.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      16th March 2018, 15:09

      It’s a quote from Kubica, who is not a native English speaker. His English is far better than most non-Polish people’s Polish, so I think he can be excused.

  9. Mark in Florida
    16th March 2018, 13:19

    I like Kubica a lot as a driver and I really wanted him to get the drive. But I had the random thought what if he gets out there and does a Luca Baduor? That would be tragic I don’t think he would but he’s been out a long time. I do hope that Robert gets his day in the sun.

    1. Mark in Florida
      I think we can with some confidence say, he will be better that Luca Baduor. That name? Oh the laughs.

      1. @bonbonjai, as an aside, it wasn’t as if Fisichella did that much better than Badoer though, and that was the same person who, in the Belgian GP, had stuck the car on pole and nearly won that race.

        Mark in Florida does have a point though, which is the expectation that is being placed on Kubica is so great that it seems pretty much inevitable that the reality of his performance would not – and probably never could – match up with the imaginations of those who hype him up.

        The more level headed figures in the press who watched the pre-season tests in Barcelona noted that the new Williams looks like a bit of a disaster in the hands of all three drivers – whether it was Kubica, Sirotkin or Stroll behind the wheel, the car looked like an understeering pig for each one of them, and all three drivers seemed to have no confidence in the front end performance of the car. What looks inevitable, though, is that almost certainly we will see fans choosing to blame the drivers instead of the car, since it is far easier, and probably a lot more popular, to lash out at them – especially, dare I say it, Sirotkin (given his nationality) – than to lash out at the team.

  10. Considering “unable” links back to the word “ability”, I wonder if Williams are already planning for an in-season change of one of their two drivers who are definitely lacking ability compared to the reserve. Obviously I’m not suggesting the daddy’s boy …

  11. In other news, water is wet….

  12. Tonya Harding anyone?

Comments are closed.