KUBICA STAKES CLAIM TO COMEBACK CHANCE
Of course everyone wants to see Robert
Kubica back in F1, to bring a fitting
conclusion to his heroic comeback from
serious injuries suffered in a 2011 rally
crash, but far fewer people probably
believed it could happen. Yet in his first
test of a current F1 car after trial runs in
older machinery, the Pole demonstrated
that he truly deserves to be considered.
Kubica posted the fourth-fastest time
overall on his first day aboard Renault’s
RS17 in Hungary, just 0.157s slower than
Jolyon Palmer’s qualifying time for the
Opinions on the likely effectiveness – or
even appropriateness – of the “Halo”
cockpit protection device have split F1’s
paddock (and its fans) since the FIA
decided provisionally to mandate its use,
pending trials of other alternatives like
the “Shield” and Red Bull’s “aeroscreen.”
July’s announcement by the governing
body that the Halo is indeed the solution
that will be employed in 2018 hasn’t
settled the debate. While drivers seemed
at least grudgingly to accept the decision,
Mercedes’ Niki Lauda was openly hostile.
“We are trying hard with faster cars
and getting closer to the spectators to
attract new fans to the sport, but this
now is destroyed by an over-reaction,”
fumed the three-time world champion,
now non-executive chairman at the
Mercedes F1 team. “The Halo destroys
the DNA of a Formula 1 car.”
FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting
said the teams will have some options
to refine the Halo’s integration.
“I think teams haven’t explored the full
range of possibilities to make them look a
little more pleasing to the eye,” Whiting
said. “Even when Williams ran with a
white one (ABOVE) it looked a great deal
better. I think they will come up with some
different designs. I don’t think it will be
quite as bad as you think.”
NOW AS THEN
Can Kubica make
it all the way back?
As always, he’s
realistic about it.
race. Perhaps most tellingly, that was
barely satisfactory for him.
“Of course you always want more
but we have to be realistic,” said Kubica
afterward. “For sure, my target is to get
a kind of role in F1 if I can.
“I appreciate what Renault did. When
we met for the first time I don’t think
anybody was thinking to let me drive in
the Hungaroring official [test] day, but it
happened. It shows the last two and a half
months were quite important, not only for
myself, but for this to move forward.”
FIA sticks with Halo cockpit protection device for 2018 as other options falter
SOMETHING TO WATCH OVER ME
Like it or not, the
Halo is on its way to
F1, although the
final look could
change as teams
adapt it to suit.
America’s F1 team moved a step closer to
its first American race driver when Santino
Ferrucci tested the current VF- 17 in
Hungary. Ferrucci, now racing in F2, is an
official Haas development driver – for now.
SHIELD’S SHAKY START
The “Shield” trialed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Silverstone
drew fewer complaints about its appearance than the “Halo,”
but got a thumbs-down from the driver, who complained it
made him dizzy after just one lap. Back to the drawing board...
Once regarded among F1’s
fastest drivers, Kubica made
the stopwatch his friend again
in post-Hungarian GP testing.