Journalist defends Robert Kubica axe reports

Published on 11 Jan 2018 08:50

A journalist has defended his claim that Williams has definitely decided to sign Sergey Sirotkin instead of Robert Kubica for 2018. Among those reporting the news about Russian Sirotkin's soon-to-be-announced deal the most confidently in recent days has been British journalist Andrew Benson.

He now tells the Polish publication Sportowe Fakty: "The team told me that the results on the track was the primary reason for signing Sirotkin. It turned out that the Abu Dhabi test was crucial," Benson added.

He said Sirotkin was consistently quicker than former BMW and Renault driver Kubica in qualifying trim. "I also received information that even Robert told team management about his problems adapting to the new tyres supplied by Pirelli," Benson said. "Williams decided that in their situation there was no room for risk."

Benson concludes that F1 will therefore "probably never see Kubica return to formula one" after the Williams setback. And he played down the role played by Sirotkin's reported $20 million sponsorship purse, thanks to his support by the Vladimir Putin-linked SMP bank.

"Robert was able to provide about EUR 8 million, but Sirotkin at least doubled this amount," said Benson. "But in reality money is just a bonus from a driver. If Kubica was twice as good as Sirotkin, he would be in the car this season. Nobody seems to remember that Renault stopped working with Robert for exactly the same reason as Williams did," he added.

"It sounds harsh, but those are the facts," said Benson. "Almost no one in the paddock didn't want to see Robert back on the grid. He is one of the greatest unfulfilled talents in the history of the sport. It would have been great PR for Williams and brought F1 a lot of new fans, and the FIA also saw the benefit and lobbied for his candidacy." (GMM)

"Clearly it wasn't an easy decision for Williams," he added. "They're now being criticised all over the world and some are saying Stroll-Sirotkin is the worst Williams driver lineup ever. Are they right? Time will tell. But when making decisions, there is no room in F1 for sentimentality," said Benson. (GMM)

Replies (12)
DE juju_hound 11 Jan 2018 09:110
Posts: 154
I would really feel a relief knowing Robert said he can't addapt to the new tyres. It would show he is just not that fast anymore and he should quick his dreams coming back to F1. I wouldn't stand thinking money played a role here.
Posts: 385
Will Williams have the worst driver line-up next season? Will it be the worst they’ve had? I don’t think either driver is worse than Nakajima was, but then Nakajima drove together with Rosberg and in my opinion he was plenty good for the both of them.
I think Stroll was pretty much a dud last year, a dud with a lucky podium. So logically there is only one way for him to go and that is up, but even with improvement I don’t think he will shine. All this hoopla about Kubica and Sirotkin has seen Sirotkin getting a lot of hate because fans’ sentimentality has them rooting for Kubica. So I really hope this report is correct, that Sirotkin simply was the faster driver, and the extra money he brings is just bonus. Looking at his GP2 stats, he finished 3rd in his two seasons, not bad really. The first year he drove everybody got their asses handed to them by Vandoorne, Sirotkin (together with Rossi) was best of the rest. The 2nd year he drove, Prema had entered GP2 and immediately dominated. So I wouldn’t be so quick to label Sirotkin as a driver who is undeserving of the seat and is “only” a pay driver, he could be a pay driver with skills. If I was a betting man, I’d bet that Sirotkin outqualifies and outraces Stroll.
Posts: 625
I’m curious as to why Robert didn’t go into endurance racing or Indy? Although there are many road circuits, I would have thought the ovals suited to his style and modifications could easily be made. In Endurance Racing, again modifications could be made and his stints tailored to his capabilities, but perhaps it’s F1 or nothing for Robert..
NL mclarenfan1968 11 Jan 2018 13:010
Posts: 1015
Ofcourse it is down to performance, only the fanboys and girls were thinking otherwise. If Kubica was as good as he was before Williams can get even more than Sirotkin can ever bring to the team in terms of money. F1 Prize money through some lumps of points is way more valuable. Such points would also elevate the team to higher constructor standings there by attracting more top sponsors. A positive feedback loop if you will. Now though with lack luster Kubica performance they chose the money even if there is no guarantee Sirotkin can perform come crunch time.
US ajpennypacker 12 Jan 2018 00:00+1
Posts: 1334
Not with Williams. It's not about fanboys, but rather a rich history of Williams siding with pay-drivers and letting truly talented drivers leave (e.g. Hulkenberg and Bottas).
NL mclarenfan1968 12 Jan 2018 05:360
Posts: 1015
You have very poor grasp of economics even when it spelt out for you clearly in my first post. Way too many too who follow F1 are clueless and talking out of their arses. There is more money to made with a fast driver scoring regular points and even podiums if the car is upto the task. Pay drivers can't ever hope to match that and no pay driver has come in with that much money to cover for lack of solid points. The obvious is the answer, Kubica was shayte next to the rookie who isn't any special either, that's what prompted Williams to go for the pay driver, atleast Williams will have money.
NL mclarenfan1968 12 Jan 2018 05:400
Posts: 1015
As for talented drivers leaving. Well duh if you car isn't upto scruff they get better offers from elsewhere. No shit sherlock what did you expect?. So naturally williams are left to choose from the pay drivers but if someone comes along and says I will drive for much less or bring very little in sponsor money but I am damn fast, who do you think they will take? Kubica could not make the cut, plain and simple. Williams has just saved Kubica's name getting tarnished from what it was when he stopped as an active F1 racer.
US ajpennypacker 13 Jan 2018 01:10+1
Posts: 1334
You remind me of Trump supporters in the U.S. aggressively ignorant. It's amazing that after many years of pay-drivers in the sport you still think it's a made up thing. Also, it's true that Kubica might have simply underperformed, but again you have no way of knowing that. The point here is that Williams has sided with pay drivers before and people as justified in being suspicious. Hopefully I'm wrong and Sirotkin is great.
US ajpennypacker 12 Jan 2018 00:03+1
Posts: 1334
Maybe, hopefully for Williams' sake Benson is right. But so many years of willing mediocrity with pay-drivers like Nakajima, Senna, Maldonado, Stroll, and mid-field drivers way past their prime (Massa, Barrichello) and letting truly talented drivers leave (Bottas, Hulkenberg, and to some extent Rosberg) makes me be skeptical of Williams siding with the best performer. The frustration is exacerbated by the absurd delays in announcing the lineup.
Posts: 625
How do you prevent drivers leaving? Hulkenberg/Bottas/Rosberg = “Truly Talented”?

US ajpennypacker 12 Jan 2018 18:34+1
Posts: 1334
@Barron I'll assume you're not just being obtuse and I will answer. First. Hulkenberg was let go because Maldonado showed up with PDVSA money. Bottas was allowed to leave because, again, there was some serious money to be had, even though Williams admittedly planned everything around him as the team leader. Rosberg is a different story, he was there for a long time and left on his own terms, but it's still a failure of Williams to produce an attractive enough environment to retain him. I don't think I need to explain to you what "truly talented" means. Look at the stats, comparison against teammates, career. What part of it don't you understand?
DK RenaultFM1 12 Jan 2018 23:020
Posts: 100
Hulkenberg talented? I guess he just been out of luck. Still not a pdium even his team mates got plenty at the same time. Now he is in a place where he actually was 5th choice and yes he should get a podium place in 2018 but everyone else would if sit in his seat....

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