Robert Kubica, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Kubica sees few realistic F1 race seat options for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Robert Kubica believes there are only a few Formula 1 teams he might find a race seat at for next season.

The 33-year-old missed out on a return to racing in F1 this year when Williams passed him over in favour of Sergey Sirotkin. Kubica told RaceFans his desire to race “hasn’t changed since the end of last year.”

However he said his options for racing in F1 in 2019 are not likely to become clear until other drivers have taken their place on the grid.

“For sure the situation is different. November last year there was only one seat free which is Williams. Now it’s more seats, more teams which might change the drivers or not.

“So it’s not that because we are sitting here [at Williams] I’m [only] targeting to be on the grid with Williams. My target is to be in the grid and then we will see. Of course realistically speaking there are not many teams I can realistically end up with or talk with.”

Kubica, who drove the Williams in practice today, said the team’s poor performance this year would not discourage him from racing for them next season.

“I think nobody was expecting Williams, which is a midfield team, to struggle so much,” he said. I think nobody was expected Sauber being clearly the slowest team last year, fighting for midfield positions or going into quali three. Things can change very quickly in Formula 1.

“So I think it is unfair to put a sticker on the Williams that it is the ‘weakest team’. It’s true that it is the weakest team in this period. But if we say about next year who knows?

“Otherwise nobody would be willing to drive if they think you’re weak in this team. And I think if you ask everybody in the paddock who wants to come to Formula 1 they will still sign for Williams. And it’s not because they are desperate to drive, but [because] anything can change.

“This team I think has potential and shown in the past that they can do a good job and deliver a good car and I don’t think that in a couple of months all the people becaome not capable of doing it. Of course there are things to be sorted but this we keep internally. As every team in the paddock, you can always improve.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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13 comments on “Kubica sees few realistic F1 race seat options for 2019”

  1. Listen to kubicas interview with Karun chandhok to understand why his lap times were slow today. He was testing unusual setups, to help williams understand their problems.

  2. I’m conflicted about Kubica coming back.
    It would be nice to see him drive again, even with the severe physical limitation.
    It would not be nice to know that a F1 car can be competitively driven by a pilot with a severe physical limitation.

    1. There have been instances in the past of drivers competing in F1 and being competitive despite physical limitations, so it’s something that has already been achieved in the past.

      Kubica’s injuries are not dissimilar to that of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who competed in F1 in the 1970’s and not only secured podiums, but even won the 1972 Monaco GP, despite the fact that his left arm was partially immobilised after shattering it whilst competing in sportscar racing during his junior career (though that still didn’t stop him winning the Formula 2 championship, despite those limitations, on the way up into F1).

  3. Im so waiting for all those commnets full of “its not the car, kubica is at least a second faster than both drivers” and all the other clever stuff)

    1. The fact that Williams were going through such a strange programme with him – including making all sorts of strange set up changes to deliberately make the car behave in extreme ways, not to mention the strange and unexpected shifts in handling that were occurring even with a normal set up – could not be a clearer sign that there is something deeply wrong with the fundamental design of the car.

      Whilst it may be fashionable to heap scorn on the drivers, it sounds like there is something fundamentally wrong within Williams itself. If anything, I wonder whether, given the affection that Williams has from the wider fan base, people prefer to blame the drivers rather than suggesting that the team itself seems to have far bigger issues (and which, frankly, it has had for quite a few years now).

  4. RogerRichards
    29th June 2018, 20:48

    kubica has not exactly set the world on fire since he began his f1 comeback, at no point that he has been in an f1 car the past year has he really ever looked close to been as good as he was and if he cannot come back and be close to as good as he was before his injuries then i dont see the point of him coming back.

    i do not wish to see robert kubica simply be in f1, if he is to come back to f1 i want to see him competing towards the front at the level he was prior. no point doing anything less.

    i was watching his on-car camera on f1tv today & he didn’t look that good & the times also show this, slowest of everyone & 8 tenths slower than stroll in equal equipment.

  5. Its a crying shame when Kubica, who is more talented (and marketable) than at least half the grid, has to struggle to get even a sniff of a drive. Teams like HAAS, McLaren, Sauber should be falling over themselves to get him as lead driver!

  6. I’m still a it confused about the current pace of Kubica. If I was a team principal of the currently lowest performing team running two inexperienced drivers, I wouldn’t want to expose them to a threat of a fast and experienced guy is just waiting on the substitution bench, that wouldn’t really help anyone. Despite the equal looking equipment I can imagine that Kubica as a development driver has totally different tasks on the track (for example testing different new parts that Stroll and Sirotkin simply wouldn’t be able to provide th neccessary feedback), and lap times aren’t priority, only the engineers might know what his corected lap time would look like. However, this way it seems almost impossible to impress other teams and land a contract. The other possibility is that the gap we see is real, which can be caused by a ton of factors, F1 becoming much mory physical since 2017 is only one of them.
    Although Kubica still targets F1, I could really see him in Formula-E instead. There will be a massive reshuffle on the driver market, the performance difference of the cars is very low compared to F1, so he could be competitive from the very beginning. Last season, when Buemi had to skip a FE weekend due to his WEC commitments, it was believed that Kubica could have substituted for him, but as soon as Gasly was called in, the story seemed forgotten. I wonder if it’s still a possibility.

    1. Crofty on Sky confirmed he would be slower as was on completely different program to Stroll – he was going through loads of different setup variations.

      1. @Jill Thanks for info, I’m glad to hear that

  7. Well, there are only a few (almost) teams in F1 in total. With only 20 seats available overall there will never be plenty of empty spots. Also, knowing all the aspects which affect teams’ choices (economical, political, marketing, even based on good personal relations), getting a seat for 2019 or any other season is a bigger challenge than winning this competition. Especially for Kubica, and especially with a few drivers expected to enter F1 soon from the lower categories. Tough profession, tough luck…

  8. I would pay a substantial amount to give Robert a one year F1 racing contract. ‘Substantial’ for a normal earning bog-standard employee, that is.

    If there were enough of us… ?

  9. “It would not be nice to know that a F1 car can be competitively driven by a pilot with a severe physical limitation.”
    Don’t we know that already? Huh? Where have you been the last 2 years? Kubica has driven thousands of kilometres in F1 cars in that time.

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