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Haas talking to Kubica about simulator role

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Haas talking to Kubica about simulator role
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 26, 2019 Williams' Robert Kubica ahead of the Russian Grand Prix REUTERS/Anton Vaganov   -   Copyright  Anton Vaganov(Reuters)
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By Alan Baldwin

MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Haas are talking to Polish driver Robert Kubica about a test and simulator role, the U.S.-owned Formula One team said on Thursday.

Kubica, 34, has already announced he is leaving Williams at the end of the season.

“We are speaking,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told reporters at the Mexican Grand Prix. “We were speaking about a role in our team as a test driver, as we need to develop the simulator still.

“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.”

Any deal would likely also include an unspecified number of outings in first free practice at race weekends.

“Simulator drivers all have in-car time as they need to correlate the sim (simulator) work with what the car is doing otherwise there’s no point,” said Steiner.

Haas, currently ninth of the 10 teams, have confirmed their 2020 lineup of Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

Kubica has scored Williams sole point of the season, although generally out-qualified and beaten by British rookie team mate George Russell in races.

The Pole made his race comeback this year after suffering a near-fatal rally crash in 2011 that partially severed his right forearm.

His sponsor, Polish oil refiner OKN Orlen, has said it intends to stay in Formula One with him. Haas no longer has a title sponsor after parting company last month with the Rich Energy drink brand.

“I hardly see myself just being closed in a dark room just doing laps in a simulator,” Kubica told reporters when asked about a switch to Haas. “I’m not excluding it but it would have to be a combined programme, which is why it is taking time.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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