Spy Video & Analysis of Robert Kubica’s Williams F1 Test in Hungary
Here’s some sneaky footage of the “productive” Hungary test and the freshest rumors on Robert Kubica’s comeback.
The final stage of Robert Kubica's evaluation with Williams F1 is underway. Last Wednesday, he performed well enough in a test at Silverstone to convince Williams to fly their personnel over to Hungary for the second half of his trials: a day spent at the Hungaroring, where he first drove the Renault R.S.17 in August. Tuesday was the day for Robert's second (and probably final) test with the team, and the test was, according to Williams, "productive." A report on the test by Motorsport states that Kubica's job is done in Hungary, and that Wednesday will see current Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta setting times of his own, as a benchmark for Kubica to beat.
Kubica, di Resta, and current driver Felipe Massa are all competing for the seat alongside Lance Stroll next season, and voices both within and outside the team are calling for different drivers to be chosen. Massa thinks he is still the most appropriate driver for the job, whereas former F1 bigwig, Bernie Ecclestone, came out in favor of Kubica, citing positive past experiences with injured drivers.
While the curious camera-wielding fans in Budapest failed to infiltrate the track's facilities as they did during the test in Silverstone, some quality footage nevertheless surfaced on social media Tuesday. Twitter user racki_tomeck, positioned outside what appears to be turn 11, recorded what may be the most important video of Tuesday's test, as the video is long enough to feature Kubica taking the corner twice, which gives us a unique piece of information: an approximate lap time.
The FW36 first passes by the tree in the foreground at 0:07, and later, at 1:33, putting Kubica's lap time approximately in the 1:26 window. As a frame of reference, Felipe Massa's Q3 time at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix was in the low 1:24 area.
Of course, there is also a tremendous margin of error to this approximation, which prevents it from being conclusive. Not only can we not precisely time how long it took Kubica to reappear, which would allow us to pin a more accurate number on his lap time, we don't know the tire compound in use, track temperature, or fuel load of the car.
Furthermore, Kubica takes the corner significantly faster in his second appearance than in his first. If the rest of the first lap was as hesitant as the corner visible in the video, it'd artificially inflate the estimated time of his second lap, which could be—for all we know—multiple seconds faster than the first lap he drove.
One other good shot made it onto the internet, though with only a single flyby, it has no use outside of entertainment. Skip to 0:34 for the good part.
One interesting piece of news after the Silverstone test went almost unnoticed: a Polish petroleum company, Grupa Lotos, teased the possibility of sponsoring someone referred to only as "the fastest driver in the world."
Who on earth could that be? Well, this company boasts of being an "official partner of Robert Kubica," which leaves little to the imagination.
The Drive reached out to both Williams and Grupa Lotos regarding potential discussions between the team and petroleum company, but only Williams responded. The spokesperson, however, declined to comment. Williams is staying mum on the topic of Kubica's test sessions to all outlets at present, but with the estimated lap time we now possess, we are no longer totally in the dark: we have a candle to keep our hopes lit.