What a story this is! Williams Martini Racing announced in Abu Dhabi on Thursday that Polish driver Robert Kubica will make his Formula One race return with the Grove based outfit alongside rookie George Russell in 2019.
It is absolutely fantastic news to see Kubica return to Formula One racing for the first time in nine years following his near fatal rally accident in 2011.
Kubica has spent the last year with the Williams Martini Racing Team as their test and reserve driver and speaking about the news on Thursday the Pole commented by saying:
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. It has been a challenging journey to make it back to the Formula One 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 One 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 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 had his Formula One debut with the BMW Sauber F1 Team in 2006 scoring a podium in his first three races. In 2008, the Pole scored his first pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix and went on to win that race.
Williams Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams thanked Sergery Sirotkin and Lance Stroll for the serves and commented on the announcement saying:
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 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 be action for his new team on during next weeks 2019 Pirelli tyre test sharing the driving duties with George Russell. Russell will be in the car in the morning on day 1 before handing over to Kubica and then on Wednesday Kubica will be in the car in the morning while Russell will drive in the afternoon.