F1
Nate Saunders, F1 Associate Editor 18d

Felipe Massa: Robert Kubica, Paul di Resta tests won't be conclusive

Formula 1

Felipe Massa doubts the tests Williams are planning to give his potential replacements, Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta, will give the team a much better understanding of its driver line-up for 2018.

Massa's future beyond this year's finale in Abu Dhabi is uncertain, with the Brazilian yet to be retained by the team he came out of a short-lived retirement for at the start of 2017. The English team is currently assessing options for next season, with reserve driver Di Resta -- who deputised for the unwell Massa in Hungary -- and Kubica, who edged closer to an F1 return this year with a series of tests for Renault, each set to get a day behind the wheel of the team's 2014 car.  

Both drivers have been out of F1 for a while -- before Hungary, Di Resta had not competed since being dropped by Force India in 2013. Kubica's absence has been longer, with a rally crash in early 2011 prematurely cutting his F1 career short. Kubica's push for a comeback looked to have fizzled out when Renault confirmed Carlos Sainz alongside Nico Hulkenberg for 2018 but, his chances have been boosted by new manager and reigning world champion Nico Rosberg -- who started his career with Williams. 

When asked during Thursday's pre-Japanese Grand Prix press conference what he thought of the tests and if it impacts his future plans, Massa said: "I don't think it changes anything for me. Williams know 100 percent what I can give to the team. Even if you do a test with cars that are four years old they are completely different and you cannot evaluate too much so it doesn't change anything for me."

Teammate Lance Stroll was sat alongside Massa at the press conference and has a unique perspective on the tests, as he has undertaking private tests in old Williams cars throughout this season. The Canadian teenager is unsure whether they will be of much relevance to deciding his 2018 partner.

"The cars we drive today are really quick," Stroll said. "Back then in 2014 the cars were, I believe it was the first year of the regulations, so there's been a lot of development and the rules have changed this year and we have a lot more downforce and big tyres and all that. They're really different. We'll see what the team thinks about it. It's not up to me to decide whether it's a good idea for evaluation." Massa went on to say he hopes to have a decision from Williams before his home race in Brazil, set to take place at Interlagos on November 12.

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