Amid reports that Robert Kubica struggled to adapt to F1's new tyres at last November's crucial Williams test, Pirelli's Mario Isola says the Pole simply needs more mileage.
The BBC's Andrew Benson claimed that Kubica's fate had been sealed at Abu Dhabi following a test which pitted the driver in search of a miraculous F1 comeback against Russian hopeful Sergey Sirotkin.
Kubica's difficulty in coping with Pirelli's latest spec of rubber worried Williams staff and has prompted the British team to award its second seat alongside Lance Stroll to the 22-year-old Sirotkin, with an official announcement due any day.
Isola however praised Kubica's ability and feedback, and said the 32-year-old simply required more laps under his belt to gain experience of the new tyres and compounds.
"I believe that Robert is a professional driver with a lot of experience, even if he didn't drive a Formula 1 car for a long time," Isola told RACER.
"But he has the feeling. Obviously I was asking him for some opinions on the tyres and he has a precise idea on the performance, degradation, how to drive and so on."
Isola considers it's perhaps expecting a bit much from a driver who has remained inactive for so long to adapt to unfamiliar characteristics straight out of the box.
"It is clear that if you take a driver who didn't drive a Formula 1 car for six or seven years and the Formula 1 car he is driving is completely different to the one he left when he stopped because of the downforce, because of the tyres, because of everything – he actually drove our tyres in the beginning of 2011 in the pre-season test in Valencia, so it's not completely true that he never drove our tyres – he was able to adapt quickly," Isola explained.
"But you cannot pretend that any driver [in that situation] jumping in a car will be quicker than a driver who was involved in many tests or many races.
"Give him the time to adapt and to show us the full potential. I believe he is still a very quick driver."