Webber not aiming to beat Barrichello’s starts record

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Mark Webber has ruled out attempting to beat Rubens Barrichello’s record of 322 Formula One starts, despite having passed the 200 mark at the last race in Bahrain.

“I think that it’s going to be very unlikely that I will challenge Rubens’ grand prix entries from my side,” Webber told Servus TV in an interview.

“I think seventeen years in Formula One, I think that record will stay for a long time. It’s a special, special career. Very, very long.”

Webber celebrated his 200th GP start with a cake and celebration in the Red Bull garage in Bahrain (although Sebastian Vettel and Helmut Marko did not attend), and in the race he finished a solid P7 ahead of Fernando Alonso and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg.

The Australian driver, who is widely expected to leave Red Bull at the end of the season, did not comment on any rumors about his future, with many believing he could join Porsche’s endurance programme in 2014.

“I think towards the summer we will make a plan, like I always do. I have never made a plan in my future seasons in April before so I’m probably not going to start now.

“I’m still feeling very hungry, still have some very good results inside me so that’s the most important thing and I’ll focus on the next race like I’ve always done.”

Webber joined an elite club of thirteen drivers to compete in over 200 races in Bahrain, and he is widely regarded as being the second greatest Australian Formula One driver of all time, behind triple champion Jack Brabham.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.