Earlier in the week, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel commented on Robert Kubica‘s return to Formula 1 at the age of 34 after an absence of eight years.
Vettel revealed his feelings were mixed – that he was delighted to see one-time rival Kubica recover sufficiently from his injuries that he can once again compete in F1 with the best drivers in the world.
But he also alluded to a tiny bit of disappointment that Kubica, at the age of 34 would be taking the seat of a younger would-be Formula 1 driver, who’d be denied the opportunity to race at the highest level in motorsport.
“I have mixed feelings” Vettel told newspaper Blick.
“On the one hand, it pleases me personally.”
“No one can even imagine how hard it was for him and what he went through.”
“On the other hand, there are also young drivers who deserve a chance.”
Which seems like a reasonable point of view.
Kubica, on hearing Vettel’s comments, responded in an interview on Polish radio station RMF FM, suggested Vettel might have an ulterior motive for his comments.
“Not everyone has to be happy that I am coming back. Certainly, when it comes to other drivers, it’s normal that the competition is big.”
When you’ve overcome the hurdles Robert Kubica has simply to get back out on track in a Formula 1 car, I don’t suppose a few not-wholly-positive comments are going to make too big of a dent in your self-belief and enthusiasm.
He also tackled Vettel’s comments head on.
“You also can’t really say that Vettel is a lot younger than me.”
My slight gripe with that would be that it’s unlikely that #1 driver for the Ferrari Formula 1 team is a role that is ever likely to be given to a junior driver.
The same can’t be said of a Williams drive in 2019.
However, Kubica’s team-mate, Briton George Russell, at just 20, is proof that the Williams Team are investing in young drivers, and contributing to the health of the future of the sport.
And giving Russell a team-mate with the wealth of experience Robert Kubica has can only help his development.
So from this perspective, rather than taking a seat from one of the next generation of stars knocking on the door of F1, Kubica is actually encouraging young drivers on their paths to Formula 1 greatness.