Robert Kubica has confirmed that he recently completed some test work in Mercedes’ Formula One simulator as part of his recovery programme.
Kubica competed in the sport between 2006 and 2010 before suffering a heavy accident whilst rallying during the off-season. His right hand required a great deal of surgical reconstruction and physio, and his racing career appeared to be over. However, the Polish driver returned to rallying last year, and he even managed to win some events by a colossal margin, spurning rumors that an F1 comeback could be possible. In an interview with Autosport, Kubica has revealed that he did do some simulator work, but that it should not be read into.
“I can say yes, I was there, but I cannot say how many times or how many laps I did,” Kubica said.
His ties with Mercedes were strengthened after he tested a touring car for the German manufacturer earlier this year, and Toto Wolff has said that he would love to work with Kubica again should the opportunity arise.
Although this is an encouraging sign about Kubica’s recovery, the one-time race winner is unsure whether he will do more work for the team.
“Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not that every time someone sees me at Heathrow airport I’m going to Mercedes.”
This is a good sign that Kubica still has the desire to race competitively, but quite whether he is ready to make a return to single seaters, let alone Formula One, remains to be seen.
Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.
The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.
“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.
“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.
“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”
The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.
Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.
Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.
McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.