Pascal Wehrlein’s crash at this year’s Race of Champions in Miami has cast doubt over his participation in pre-season testing for Sauber later this month. The news comes at a time when Robert Kubica, who used to race for BMW-Sauber, is admitting that he wants to drive an F1 car again.
Wehrlein unluckily suffered a neck injury that will take a long time to heal, which is bad news for the young German given the regulation changes that will see increased G-Forces on the neck. Wehrlein said,
“It’s no more than mild discomfort but my real priority for the coming year is my Formula 1 season.”
– Pascal Wehrlein
Sauber have already dismissed the prospect of Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovanazzi stepping in as ‘pure speculation’. Felipe Nasr is a possibility, but why would he do the Swiss team a favour after they dumped him despite being the only Sauber driver to score points last season?
Robert Kubica was poised to do great things in Formula 1, his injury in rallying ruined his career at the pinnacle of singe-seater racing. The Polish driver hasn’t been rusting since, competing in the World Rally Championship and looking forward to a W.E.C campaign for 2017. But the Polish driver yearns for F1.
“I would like to try a Formula 1 car [again]. It has been a while, so I would have to prove myself – but I think I could do it well. I would like to relive the thrill of the Formula 1 experience. I have tried many simulators, and I am convinced that I would drive at 80 per cent of the F1 tracks – but not all of them.
In my last three seasons of Formula 1, I managed to achieve a remarkable performance level – a level I think I lack a little bit of now. In 2010 with Renault, I think I did nothing wrong – and to get to that level of performance you have to work hard for so many years. In rallying I missed this as everything was done too quickly.”
– Robert Kubica
It makes massive sense for Sauber to give Kubica the pre-season tests. First of all, they would have a fair few rounds in the headlines and get some great exposure. Secondly, you look at Kubica’s career and it aligns more with the upcoming regulations than even Wehrlein. He was the test driver for Renault’s F1 team in 2005 and competed for Sauber between 2006 and 2009. The new regulations, with more durable tyres, greater speed and higher G-forces align with Kubica’s last stint in Formula One.
The last time the Sauber name crossed the finish line of a Grand Prix as the victors, Robert Kubica was the pilot. He’s a massively experienced driver who would probably give Sauber more feedback than the current pairing. It would give the Swiss team a better footing heading into what looks to be a difficult 2017 season ahead…
Here’s where we think Sauber, among others, will be for the Australian Grand Prix in 2017: