Alfa Romeo reserve driver is gearing up for an extended week of activity in Barcelona, Spain.
Robert Kubica is all set to make an appearance in the FP1 session on Friday, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
It will be his first practice outing at the wheel of Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 machinery this season - he will take over Kimi Raikkonen’s car.
2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner will also be taking part in the two days of testing following the race in Barcelona, putting to the test the 18-inch Pirelli tyres, scheduled to be introduced next season.
“I am looking forward to being in the car again this Friday and next week,” Kubica said.
“Having last driven the C41 in Barcelona in February, I am looking forward to seeing how much the car has progressed since both in terms of upgrades and in the teams understanding of the package.”
He further commented: “Driving a Formula One car is always a special experience, and I am looking forward to contributing to the team’s effort in the midfield battle.
“Also, getting to drive the new 18-inch tyres will be a new experience and the first taste of the new world that will come into being next year.”
The tyre manufacturer had to modify the plans for testing the new compounds - which began in 2019 - due to the Covid-19 pandemic, delaying its introduction to the 2022 season.
The 2021 schedule features nine Formula One teams helping on developing the new slick and wet prototype 18-inch tyres either in single-car sessions or multi-car tests throughout the year.
On Kubica’s return to the F1 cockpit, Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG stated: “It is great to have Robert back in the car for his first practice session of the season and for the Barcelona test.”
In addition, Vasseur outlined the Pole experience and the value he adds to the Swiss team with the feedback he provides on the C41.
“Each time he gets in the car is valuable for us in order to tap into his extensive experience and get another perspective about the C41. His technical feedback will also be crucial in his runs with the 2022 tyres.
“We are in the middle of a very close fight in the midfield, and every input from our talented pool of drivers can be the secret weapon that gives us that edge to move forward.”
After three rounds into the 2021 Formula One season, points have eluded the team despite showcasing a competitive car and solid performances in qualifying, significant progress compared to last season.
Consistency seems to be a goal to reach by the Formula One squad powered by Ferrari.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
The Catalunya circuit is no stranger to the Krakow native who has tested in Barcelona on previous occasions.
The Spanish track brings great memories to the Pole, who last April debuted on the European Le Mans Series with a victory in the 4 Hours of Barcelona.
In 2021, the 36-year-old combines his reserve and test driver role in Formula One with a full racing programme in the European Le Mans Series (six rounds).
Kubica competes in the series LMP2 category with the WRT team, sharing the prototype - Oreca 07 - Gibson with teammates Louis Deltraz and Yifei Ye.
At the time, the Polish driver explained: “Winning may have looked easy, from outside, but I can tell you that there is a lot of good work behind this success. The team did a tremendous work, but that is never enough, as races can go either way.
“Here, strategy, pit stops, and everything were perfect, and we could stay in front. This said, we still are in a learning process, and, after victory, we will have under more pressure… It’s our first season in LMP racing for the team and the drivers, and we still have plenty of things to discover.
“Endurance racing requires a different approach, starting from finding a compromise for set-up and tyres that suits the three drivers, which in this case, have very different backgrounds, but I must say, working with Louis and Yifei has been a pleasure.”
The next round of the 2021 European Le Mans Series is scheduled for 16 May in Austria at the Red Bull Ring circuit.
The Spanish Grand Prix takes place on May 7-9, presenting modifications on the track’s Turn 10 corner, providing more run-off area.