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Williams happy with Kubica test but candid about 2018 decision

Written by  Nov 30, 2017

Williams Technical Director Paddy Lowe has praised the work done by Robert Kubica after the Pole completed the equivalent of a full day of running at the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi this week.

The former BMW and Renault driver's first running in the 2017 FW40 was the final assessment of his capabilities as the historic British team consider him for the seat left by the retirement of Felipe Massa for 2018.

On Tuesday, Kubica focused on longer runs on the Soft compound tyre, reaching the 100-lap mark before handing over to Lance Stroll for the final two hours. On Wednesday, it was the 32-year-old running for the final two hours but this time conducting short runs on softer rubber, including the new HyperSoft. 

”Robert did a great job," Lowe said without going into details. "We were very happy with that absolutely with the number of laps and with the running altogether."

The former Mercedes boss then spoke highly of the one-time race winner both of his approach and passion to return to Formula 1, six years after a rally crash left him severely injured.

"He is a driver of tremendous experience and very knowledgeable about his work," he claimed. "His job is a professional racing driver so he has that confident and you can feel it in the garage so everybody's happy with Robert.

"He is a driver that we've all admired when he drove in F1 and even since then. It's a great example of his character that he considered coming back from this accident that he had and fighting away just seeking if he could come back into F1."

Further bolstering Kubica's hopes, his best time on the HyperSoft on Wednesday was a tenth of a second faster than would be teammate Stroll with the Williams chief talking up the partnership.

"This is a tyre test and it's been really great to work with Robert and Lance as well, the combination of the two, to look at the new tyres for next year," Lowe said. "We covered all the compounds except the SuperHard and the Hard, but the other five compounds we have gone through - also referencing to the 2017 Soft and UltraSoft.

"It was fascinating to be able to get the feedback on the tyres and in Robert's case we also had the comparison to the 2014 car, which is also very interesting."

Though Kubica is considered the favourite to be signed for next year, Williams is not getting ahead of themselves insisting there are alternatives options available.

"We’ll take the decision at the time we are ready and when we have all the information and we are ready to declare it," Lowe commented.

"The drivers we brought to this test doesn’t mean that it’s the drivers under consideration for racing next year, this was a tyre test, which is an opportunity to look at two different drivers as well as for Lance to look at the new tyres. That was the purpose.

"Of course it gives us more information about drivers but it’s not setting a definition from the pool from which we will pick race drivers."

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