Ferrari’s James Allison: Only a matter of time until Kimi hits his stride

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As Formula One teams plan updates and enhancements to their chassis beginning with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari’s chassis technical director James Allison is confident Kimi Raikkonen will be able to maximize his talent and ability level in the team’s Ferrari F14 T chassis soon.

“Kimi is working extremely well with this team, collaborating extremely well with his engineers, with the other car, and helping us drive this car forwards; helping to show us where it is weak and helping us to make it stronger,” Allison said, via the official Formula One website.

“He has class written all over him, and we know that within a very short space of time we will also be seeing the results on the track.”

Through four Grands Prix, Fernando Alonso has thus far taken the early team advantage on his teammate, and did well to score the team’s first podium finish of the year three weeks ago in China.

Raikkonen’s slow start, meanwhile, has gotten a fair bit of attention, but he insisted his motivation isn’t lacking.

The team has also gone through its high-profile management shakeup with the departure of Stefano Domenicali after Bahrain, with Ferrari North America’s Marco Mattiacci coming in to replace him as team principal.

Allison confirmed it’s been the car, not the drivers, that have left Ferrari on the back foot thus far.

“We are very fortunate to have two good drivers with impeccable pedigree. Until we deliver both our drivers a car they can really put to work on a track, we are just fortunate to have these guys helping us drive the program forward,” Allison admitted.

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.