F1 Testing always brings up stories of ‘sandbagging’ and drivers needing time to become familiar with ‘the race package’. It is an opportunity for teams to put their cars and drivers to the test in the anticipation of seeing lap times decrease as the test progresses. However, one driver who is probably eager to complete testing as soon as possible would have to be Robert Kubica.
It is now eight years since Robert Kubica saw his life change following a devastating crash whilst competing in a rally in Italy. His return to the sport has been widely reported on and much loved by many a fan across the world. This is hardly surprising seeing how this is a man who at his time of leaving the sport was arguably performing at a more impressive level than Lewis Hamilton. After all, Kubica was supposed to be a future F1 world champion. His comeback is a remarkable story but Williams’ season so far…not so much.
Williams had a disastrous first test and the time it took to finally get the FW42 on track has been widely reported on. This point has not been lost on Kubica who discussed the team’s performance at the end of the second day of the second pre-season test:
“Today was a productive day from one side but from another side maybe not because time is running out,”
Time is indeed running out, as Free Practice 1 in Melbourne is now just over two weeks away. Robert Kubica’s return to Formula 1 has been a moment so many fans have longed to see. His talent as a driver is undoubted but there are still so many question marks as to what the FW42 will be able to achieve as he himself has admitted:
“From a driver point of view, we haven’t done any work on the car so there is a lot of things to discover and unfortunately not a lot of time left before our first race.
In a recent television interview at the close of the first 2019 pre-season test, Kubica was his usual good natured self and always ready to support the team around him.
“It’s not like people are not working - we have to keep working, keep improving and sorting out the things…If we have a smooth start to the season, it will help but we really have to put in maximum effort for that.’’
If Melbourne proves to be successful for Williams then speculation will start to mount as to what Kubica (and George Russell) could achieve. However, this once great team was a back runner last year so it may take a while to decide on what a ‘success’ for the start of 2019 would look like.
Time may be running out for testing the FW42 but for Robert Kubica and his return to F1 – his time has only just begun and the sport is all the greater because of it.