Williams F1 Confirms Robert Kubica Will Drive Abu Dhabi Test
The worst-kept secret in F1 this year has been acknowledged by the team at last.
Wednesday, Williams Formula 1 Team confirmed rumors that the widely-hyped Robert Kubica will perform a test session for the team after the season-concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. The Pirelli tire test, which will span the Tuesday and Wednesday following the race weekend, will involve three drivers: Kubica, Sergei Sirotkin, and Lance Stroll. Kubica will bookend the sessions by driving Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, with Stroll and Sirotkin taking sessions in between. Williams does not make any official mention of evaluating Kubica as part of this test in the team's announcement, and though The Drive reached out to a team spokesperson for comment, none was made.
Williams has formally stated that the team has not signed Kubica, despite several media outlets claiming the contrary, though it now appears the team is not simply playing coy, as fresh details on the alleged contract suggest things are not finalized, as some claim.
Technical analyst Mark Hughes said in a Facebook interview with Sky Sports F1 that his confidence that Kubica would be driving for the team next year was 98 percent, stating that only some of the finer details of the contract between the team and driver needed to be resolved. In a column published by Motorsport Magazine, Hughes says that the biggest thing preventing the deal from being finalized was an insurance payout, which Kubica presumably received after his then career-ending injuries in the infamous 2011 rally crash which crippled his right arm.
Of course, even if the financial details are worked out, things going less than stellar at the Abu Dhabi test would still leave the team with a backup option. Motorsport Italy describes recently-dropped Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat as Williams' second choice, though the apparent departure of two of the team's sponsors at the end of the season could require Kvyat to come up with a financial package that competes with that offered by Kubica, should the Polish man underperform next week. Going by Hughes' description of the situation, however, that looks to be the least probable outcome.
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