Haas Formula 1 chief Gunther Steiner has confirmed the team is discussing a simulator and test driver role with Robert Kubica for the 2020 season.

Kubica returned to F1 after nine years away in 2019 with Williams, but confirmed at the end of September he would be leaving the team after just a single season, having picked up its only point so far this year in Germany.

The one-time grand prix winner has been clear in his desire to keep a racing programme in place for 2020, and is open to combining one with a non-race drive role in F1.

Speaking on Thursday in Mexico, Steiner confirmed that Haas was in negotiations with Kubica over the possibility of a simulator and development role for 2020 that would include some time in the Haas VF-20 car.

“Yes, we are speaking. We were speaking about a role in our team as a test and need to develop the simulator still,” Steiner said.

“We are at a decent point but we need to make the next step as well. He is for sure one of the most qualified to do that. That’s what we’re discussing.

“For sure, a simulator driver, like always, they all have in-car time as they need to correlate the sim work with what the car is doing, otherwise there’s no point.”

Asked if any deal with Kubica would include some Friday drives, Steiner said: “I cannot say yet. We’re still talking. It’s not a done deal.”

Kubica confirmed there had been some progress in defining his racing plans for 2020 when speaking later in the day, but stressed he needed to set a racing plan in place first before considering a development role.

“Of course time is ticking, so you have to become closer and closer to some conclusions, but it will take a bit more time and probably need to put a few things in the right place,” Kubica said.

“All the things, they have to get well together. It’s looking pretty OK I would say. Of course not everything is sorted out yet, but we are in a good way.

“I would like to get on top of what is the most important for me, to race, and then see once this is sorted out what would be possible for the future. I hardly see myself just being closed in a dark room and doing laps in the simulator. I’m not excluding it, but it would have to be a combined thing with some other stuff.

“That’s why probably also it’s taking a bit more time, and all the parts, they have to fit together, which is not easy.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

 

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