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Kubica confirmed as 2019 Williams driver

  • Published on 22 Nov 2018 10:03
  • comments 11
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Robert Kubica will make his full-time Formula 1 return next year after signing a deal with Williams to partner Mercedes junior George Russell. The Pole has been working on a comeback to the sport since 2017, following his life-threatening crash at the Ronde di Andora rally in 2011.

“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me during what was a difficult period of my life over these last few years,” said Kubica. “It has been a challenging journey to make it back to the Formula 1 grid, but what seemed almost impossible is now beginning to feel possible, as I am excited to be able to say that I will be on the Formula 1 grid in 2019."

Kubica was left with serious injuries and had part of his arm amputated after the F1 off-season event. Prior to his accident, he competed in four full seasons of F1 from 2007 to 2010, making his debut towards the end of the 2006 season with BMW Sauber.

The 33-year-old picked up one victory and nine podiums in his time with BMW Sauber, before making the switch to Renault for the 2010 season where he added a further three podiums to his record. Earlier this year, he confirmed that he had signed a contract with Ferrari to partner Fernando Alonso in 2012 until his rally accident put a halt to the switch.

Kubica got behind the cockpit of an F1 car last year when he completed a series of private tests for Renault. He then took part in an in-season test at the Hungaroring, which marked his first official F1 outing since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Kubica was in the frame for a 2018 seat at Renault before it opted to sign Carlos Sainz. The Krakow-born racer then shifted his focus onto Williams, where he aimed to prove he was worthy of the position. However, following the winter break, the Grove squad announced that Sergey Sirotkin had the drive for 2018 while Kubica would hold the role of test and development driver.

But now he will return to replace Sirotkin, saying that he is not expecting the work to be easy:  “For sure, it has been a long road to get to this point, but as that challenge now comes to an end with this announcement, a new challenge begins working with Williams on track.

"It will not be easy, but with hard work and dedication, both George and myself will work together to try and help the team get in better shape to move further up the grid. This year has been tough, but I have learnt a lot, and I’d like to thank Sir Frank [Williams] and Claire [Williams] for this opportunity."

Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams added: “I am delighted to announce that Robert will be stepping up to the role of Race Driver to partner George in 2019. All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved, and it is a great credit to his strength of character and tenacity to return to Formula 1.

“During this season his commitment to the team and the work he has put in behind the scenes has been unwavering, and he has become an established and much respected member of the Williams team. He has a level of determination that is remarkable to see; and he truly embodies the Williams fighting spirit."

Replies (11)

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  • Brawo dla Roberta !! Świetna wiadomość.

    Congratulations to Robert. Thanks to Williams.

    Now, get to work !!

    • + 0
    • Nov 22 2018 - 10:54
  • Well.... its publicity at least i guess

    • + 1
    • Nov 22 2018 - 12:25
  • Sadly I suspect the only reason he was in was because Sirotkin's backers withdrew. Im happy for him, but it looks very cynical.

    • + 1
    • Nov 22 2018 - 15:39
    • Niids

      Posts: 43

      Sirotkins words from few days back suggest something else, so I hope someone in Williams realized after this season, that money arent everything.

      • + 0
      • Nov 22 2018 - 16:03
    • There is no doubt in my mind that Williams simply went after the highest bidder, but I am delighted that Robert got a chance because he is both well sponsored and at least was very talented.

      • + 0
      • Nov 22 2018 - 16:50
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      I hope I'm wrong, but I have my doubts about Kubica's speed. Last year Sirotkin was faster than him when they tested, and Sirotkin has failed to impress. Granted he hasn't had the material, but I expected him to be way better than Stroll. Let us hope that Kubica's lack of speed last year was down to not handling the Pirellis correctly and that he's figured them out by now.

      • + 0
      • Nov 22 2018 - 19:46
    • @Kean but do we really know who was faster? As far as I know, no information was released regarding times, tyres, fuel load, or anything other than a few whispers that Sirotkin was faster. Or did I miss something?

      • + 0
      • Nov 22 2018 - 20:50
    • Times were released. For the session Kean was referring to, Sirotkin was running faster, but on a different compound. However, in the tests held in Spain this year, Kubica was in fact faster than Sirotkin by quite a margin, but Im unsure whether they were running the same tyres and fuel loads and such.

      • + 1
      • Nov 23 2018 - 05:52
  • Norbert

    Posts: 108

    No reporting to public or numbers released from the test. One fan claimed to have been at the trackside watching, recounting that Sirotkin was in-out, Kubica did full fuel and race distance. Kubica was faster, but not by a lot, and Sirotkin was running lighter fuel.

    We also have several FP1 numbers from each driver side by side. Go through them yourself as I did. At free practice Kubica was faster than Sirotkin when drawing numbers at the same number of laps. Sergey did lay down a faster lap time only after many more laps and on the softer tyre.

    Last season with help from Nico Rosberg, Kubica had 6 or 7 million sponsorship while Sirotkin brought 10 to 12 million depending on what you read. This year Robert Kubica could add Polish oil company money that was both reported as on the table, and off the table. We don’t know.


    • + 0
    • Nov 23 2018 - 03:42
    • Orlen, Polish oil company brought 20MEUR for two years deal.
      Current Polish prime minister who accepted this deal, in 2010 was in charge of Polish Santander Bank and was againts backing up Kubica saying he was happy for his crash in 2011 since he didn't have to spend 10MEUR on Kubica's Ferrari deal for 2012. Someone recorded him saying this. Anyway, today no hard feellings..

      • + 0
      • Nov 23 2018 - 08:20
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,168

    A last ooh rah for him. I like Robert however for him to come back and be on the money is something else. Good luck to him.

    • + 0
    • Nov 23 2018 - 09:00

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