Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen was ruled out of last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix following a positive covid test. This paved the way for the team’s reserve driver Robert Kubica to step in at the last minute ahead of FP3. The team have now announced that Kubica will continue to fill in for Räikkönen as he is still isolating following his positive test.
Kubica, despite limited running having missed both Friday practice sessions, managed a P15 finish for the team on his first race appearance since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Williams.
In a statement announcing the decision, the team said “Alfa Romeo Racing can confirm that reserve driver, Robert Kubica, will continue to deputise for Kimi Räikkönen at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix,”
“Kimi missed last week’s race in Zandvoort after testing positive to Covid-19 and has not yet been cleared for a return to racing. As per health authority requirements, he is still isolating in his home.
“Robert, who performed admirably in the Netherlands after stepping in at short notice before FP3, will return to the car alongside Antonio Giovinazzi.”
Kubica was quick to wish Räikkönen a speedy recovery, saying "First of all, I want to share my best wishes for Kimi, I hope he makes a full recovery and returns to the cockpit soon. I am looking forward to racing in Monza, an incredible track in which I claimed my first podium, in 2006.
“Unlike Zandvoort, it is a track I know well and this will help, particularly since the Sprint Qualifying weekend format means we will be one practice session short.
“I am happy with what I did in Holland and I can’t wait to help the team out one more time in Monza.”
The Italian Grand Prix marks Kubica’s first full race weekend since he left Williams at the end of 2019. With this weekend's event being another sprint trial which will leave Kubica with less practice running than a standard weekend, albeit still more than he received prior to the Grand Prix last weekend.
Speaking last Sunday, the Pole said: “I was told yesterday that I'm also a bit unlucky, because it's a different format, what I need is a time in the car before going to quali and if I have to race in Monza, there will be one hour free practice. So again, in case if it's happening it will not be easy one, but I think I showed today that I use my head.
“I think especially in these circumstances, it's better to lose couple of tenths and stay on the track. There is no magic in this sport. It is nearly impossible to jump in and be on the pace.”