He may have missed out on a race seat for 2018, but former Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica says he is still targeting a full F1 comeback after signing as Williams’ official reserve and development driver. It follows several tests for the Pole over the second half of 2017, including the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tyre test at the conclusion of last season.
Kubica, winner of the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix with Sauber and a veteran of 76 F1 race starts, will play a very active role within the team, including participation in Barcelona pre-season testing and in-season testing, and will also take part in a number of race weekend practice sessions.
“I’m extremely happy to be joining the Williams team,” said Kubica, whose earlier F1 career was halted by an off-season rallying crash in 2011. “I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting their faith in me with this appointment.”
My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula 1 and this is another important step in that direction
Williams believe Kubica’s experience and knowledge will prove invaluable to their technical group in the development of their new FW41 car. He will help race drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin and the team’s engineers deliver better qualifying and race performance, and will be available to stand in as the race driver if required. He will also support the team’s media and sponsorship support programme.
“I have enjoyed being back in the Formula 1 paddock over these past few months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical team, both at the factory and at the track, to really help push forward the development of the FW41 and to make a real difference to their 2018 campaign,” said Kubica.
“Having driven both the FW36 and the FW40, I’m looking forward to seeing how the FW41 measures up on track and working with the team to ensure we can maximise the performance of the car. My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula 1 and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.”
Of Kubica’s appointment, deputy team principal Claire Williams stated: “All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what Robert has achieved, and it is a great credit to his strength of character and commitment to return to Formula 1. We are excited to be continuing our relationship with Robert and look forward to working with him this coming season.”
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer, added: “First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate Robert on what he has achieved so far. To overcome his injuries, return to fitness, and drive a Formula 1 car again is a remarkable achievement, and one that few considered possible.
“We anticipate Robert will make a strong technical contribution to the team, using his wealth of experience in track testing, simulator work, and support to the race drivers and engineers at every race. He is a driver I have admired for many years and I am personally very happy to be working with him towards our 2018 championship.”