Confirmed: Kubica Returns With Williams in 2019

Williams sign Kubica.jpg

The speculation was proven correct this morning in Abu Dhabi - Williams Racing confirming Robert Kubica will line up alongside George Russell for the former champions next season.


Having spent time as both a Renault and Williams reserve driver since returning to the Grand Prix paddock following his horrific accident on the Ronde di Andora rally back in 2011, the winner of the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix has made no secret of his desire to return to full time race driver duties in Formula One, turning down several opportunities outside of the top flight as he continued to pursue what is a remarkable recovery over the last few years.

Suffering a blow in 2017 as Renault turned down the Polish start in favour of Toro Rosso junior Carlos Sainz, the then 32-year-old moved ship to Williams as he looked to continue his journey to the starting grid in Formula One. Having supposedly found himself in the frame for a drive with the Grove team for this season, eventually missing out to another former Renault tester in the shape of Sergey Sirotkin, Kubica would secure himself in a reserve and development role with Williams – spending considerable time working on the team’s simulator and importantly impressing onlookers with his rare FP1 performances in the reluctant 2018 car, outpacing the regular team drivers on each of his sessions out on track. It is thought that these performances, alongside the considerable determination it has taken to return to active racing have been the key to securing the Williams drive, with the team looking for a driver with experience to support young rookie George Russell, whilst still bringing much needed funding to the struggling outfit.

For his part, Kubica appears to be under no illusion as to the challenge ahead, one he is relishing undertaking following what will be an enforced eight year lay off from Formula One racing:

“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.

“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.

“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.”


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 One.

“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.

“Having the consistency of Robert stepping up into this new role will be an important step for us as we look to fight our way back towards the front of the field. I am also excited to have a mixture of youth and experience to lead us into 2019 and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve on track.

“I would also like to thank Lance [Stroll] and Sergey for their hard work in what has been a challenging season. We wish them all the best for their future careers.”

Kubica will again get a chance behind the wheel this weekend, taking over one of the race drivers cars for Free Practice One in Abu Dhabi, before sharing driving duties with his 2019 team mate George Russell at the post race Pirelli tyre test at the same venue.


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Bazooka_Joe

Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst.
Dec 23, 2012
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Amazing come back - it's like a fairy-tale come true.

I know there are young and potential drivers out there trying to get in, but after such determination, painful recovery for those 8 years he simply deserves a race seat for a season or even more while he's still quick and until he'll retire. Without his rally accident that one seat would have been taken anyway...

Well done Robert, you're such a inspiration for people now and in the future. Good luck in 2019!
 

F1Aussie

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Good to see cue ball back in a race seat, will be interesting to see what he has lost and if having one dominant arm will lead to fatigue later on in the races. I wish him all the best.
 

Will Mazeo

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May 25, 2015
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Waste of seat. The guy had huge potential years ago but after that accident everyone knows his career is done.
Wonder what happens if his physical limits cause a crash.
 

Fat-Alfie

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Come on, these modern F1 racers are built like tiny body-builders, with necks like bulls. The physical demands of modern racing necessitate absolute peak physical strength and fitness.

From the interviews I have read with RK, he is nowhere near 100% 'complete' and no amount of natural skill or talent can make up for that.

Of course, I may be proven wrong. It's just a shame that a younger driver didn't get the chance, rather than someone who has been absent for 8 years. I have nothing against him at all, btw.
 
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Will Mazeo

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May 25, 2015
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Of course, I may be proven wrong. It's just a shame that a younger driver didn't get the chance, rather than someone who has been absent for 8 years. I have nothing against him at all, btw.
I'll be very happy if I'm proved wrong, I wanted this guy to be world champion. But we gotta be realistic.
 

Richard Hessels

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Jul 23, 2008
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Come on, these modern F1 racers are built like tiny body-builders, with necks like bulls. The physical demands of modern racing necessitate absolute peak physical strength and fitness.

From the interviews I have read with RB, he is nowhere near 100% 'complete' and no amount of natural skill or talent can make up for that.

Of course, I may be proven wrong. It's just a shame that a younger driver didn't get the chance, rather than someone who has been absent for 8 years. I have nothing against him at all, btw.
They work very hard to not have a too much muscle.
Muscles makes you reaction slower and they are heavy, if every gram counts.
A few kilo's of muscles at a high postion is a difference of 10'ths of second.
Their neck muscles are indeed out of proportion.
Is like holding a bucket of water straight with 3-4 g's.
 

Paul Glover

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Jul 16, 2011
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Waste of seat. The guy had huge potential years ago but after that accident everyone knows his career is done.
Wonder what happens if his physical limits cause a crash.
Not sure I agree 100% with this, I have my reservations. I'd imagine he has done test runs in older cars for a race duration, also I suspect physical tests on the hand in a gym and in a simulator.

You cannot say for certain he will have issues, it's an unknown quantity to us. I like Claire Williams and I'm sure she would have covered herself with this.

Time of course will tell who is right. On a personal level I'm pleased for him.
 

Paul Glover

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Jul 16, 2011
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They work very hard to not have a too much muscle.
Muscles makes you reaction slower and they are heavy, if every gram counts.
A few kilo's of muscles at a high postion is a difference of 10'ths of second.
Their neck muscles are indeed out of proportion.
Is like holding a bucket of water straight with 3-4 g's.
Which is one of the reasons the weight limit has been increased, drivers have recently spoke about the challenges of the current restrictions. Muscle as we all know is heavy, so they cannot bulk too much.
 

Thombike

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Jun 29, 2016
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Waste of seat. The guy had huge potential years ago but after that accident everyone knows his career is done.
Wonder what happens if his physical limits cause a crash.
O LOL! After that accident and rehabilitation he was one of the fastest rally drivers...Without experience in WRC. And than he became a WRC2 World Champion, beating fully funcionaly full experienced WRC drivers... I know, maybe it's not so difficult to beat Stroll or Sirotkin, but mostly was quickest Williams driver... And always said - No, I don't search best lap, I doo My job only...So, your word are more as B... Sh... You know?
 

Terry Rock

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Oct 24, 2009
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Amazing come back - it's like a fairy-tale come true.

I know there are young and potential drivers out there trying to get in, but after such determination, painful recovery for those 8 years he simply deserves a race seat for a season or even more while he's still quick and until he'll retire. Without his rally accident that one seat would have been taken anyway...

Well done Robert, you're such a inspiration for people now and in the future. Good luck in 2019!
Another 'Zanardiish' story.
Great to see both men get the chance they deserved to finish the business they started.
Hope he does well.
 

Medilloni

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Dead chuffed for him, really looking forward to watching F1 again next year.

For those that have doubts about his physical abilities I think I can understand, though the tests he's been through by Renault, Williams and the FIA would (imo) indicate he has everything he needs to be on the grid again.

Further, I'd suggest that there is no more violent driving environment than World Rally Championships - Robert won 2013 FIA World Rally Championship-2... 5 years ago! Since then his fitness regime has increased substantially (as those that have followed his progress intently will know), especially the last two years when he got a sniff of a drive when he took it to another level.

The amazing Billy Monger has returned to racing and is doing incredibly well - his goal is F1 - and the vast majority have nothing but good wishes and support for him for his journey back to where he wants to be, which I find heartening, and hope that if he's quick enough he'll get the breaks. Will they still support him if he gets a sniff of F1 because; 'fitness', 'could be a danger', 'can he do a whole weekend' etc etc. Where there's a will, there's always a way, imo.

Robert Kubica's injuries are less than Billy's, I see absolutely no reason why he can't be quick enough to justify Williams' decision, especially when they've been running with him for a year and have all the info to make a decision of this magnitude.

F*** me, I am so bloody chuffed, for him and his tireless supporters that have waited so long for this.

FORZA RK! :D
 
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jburon72

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Mar 22, 2017
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Glad to have him back on the grid. We will only know if he still has the ability to compete at the highest level next year. We can only hope for the best for him and the Williams team.
 
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