Williams announces Robert Kubica’s 2019 Formula 1 racing return

Robert Kubica’s Formula 1 race return with the Williams for the 2019 season has been confirmed.

As reported by Autosport, the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner will partner George Russell at Williams in 2019 and end an absence from the F1 grid of more than eight years.

Kubica has not raced in F1 since the 2010 season finale, having suffered severe injuries to his right arm in a rally crash in early ’11.

Securing a 2019 drive means Kubica completes a stunning comeback from the long-term injuries he sustained in that crash, which stopped him from racing for several years.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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 and Claire for this opportunity.

“Being back on the F1 grid next season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life, and I’m sure with hard work and commitment we will be able to help motivate the team to achieve good things together.

“Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and believed in me. I will finally be back on the grid behind the wheel of an F1 car, and I cannot wait to get back racing.”

Kubica, who says he now drives “70%” left-handed, has not raced a single-seater since the last of his 76 grand prix starts.

He first returned to competitive action in rallying before making a circuit-racing comeback in the 2016 Mugello 12 Hours GT race.

Kubica completed a successful F1 test with Renault last year in a 2012 car before driving the contemporary Renault and Williams machinery in Hungary and Abu Dhabi respectively.

The Williams deal means the 33-year-old lands the seat he had originally targeted for this season before having to settle for a reserve driver role.

Kubica was also understood to have had a firm offer from Ferrari to take up a development role with the Italian team for 2019.

He and Russell replace Sergey Sirotkin and Force India-bound Lance Stroll as Williams’s race line-up.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said Kubica had made a huge impression on her squad with his work in 2018.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

2019 F1 driver line-up

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc
Red Bull-Honda: Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly
Renault: Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg
Haas-Ferrari: Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean
McLaren-Renault: Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris
Force India-Mercedes: Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll*
Sauber-Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi
Toro Rosso-Honda: Daniil Kvyat, Alexander Albon**
Williams-Mercedes: Robert Kubica, George Russell

* Not yet officially announced

** Subject to negotiations to release him from Formula E deal

Williams announces Robert Kubica’s 2019 Formula 1 racing return

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