Abu Dhabi: Robert Kubica’s perseverance and determination has finally bore fruit as he is all set to race for Williams in 2019. The Polish driver will be making a remarkable comeback into Formula One after being on the sidelines for eight years, following a near-fatal car crash.
Kubica will be partnering British rookie George Russell, Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams announced at the team paddock ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday.
“It’s a great feeling, of course. A lot of emotions are behind it and a lot of work,” said the 33-year-old, who suffered extensive injury to his arm and leg in a rally crash in 2011. The car had rammed against the roadside barrier, leaving him with his right forearm partially severed and with multiple fractures. He only had partial movement in one limb but he has overcome that with years of effort.
“I am delighted to be part of the top 20 drivers in Formula One and I am delighted to put my car on the grid next year in Australia.”
Rumours were rife that Kubica would be filling in the void left by Brazilian Felipe Massa on the Williams team last year but despite doing some testing that deal didn’t materialise.
“Yes, last year we probably were close but it didn’t work out and many people saw it as a great loss from my side but honestly, I think this year has been a very useful year,” said the Pole. “With having opportunity to be with the team and work with the car. Last year, when I came here it was only second time I was driving new generation cars. So I have understood the car better this year from technical point of view.
“First of all from human point of view, I understand and I see the point that it is a story which probably nobody believed. The only one who probably never gave up was myself and people who were around me. This day shows that nothing is impossible. Let there be absolutely no doubt that I cannot only drive the F1 car but also be competitive.
“You just need to wait for a few months and you will see. If I was not able to drive competitive enough, then I will not be here. It is normal way of thinking that people see my limitation and think how he can drive. I know it is hard to believe but Williams have seen it this year.”
Kubica had also conducted a series of tests with Renault in 2017 before starting negotiations with Williams from last year.
Deputy team principal Claire speaking about the association said: “It has taken a while and we have reached the conclusion today on the basis of thorough evaluation process. Everybody knows in the paddock Kubica has amazing spirit, he has got a fantastically tenacious personality and he is hugely passionate about Formula One. So he is the driver we are looking forward to working next year.
“Robert has played a part in helping and development of the car all through this year. He has got an extraordinary understanding and he is also a pusher as well. He pushes me and that’s what we are looking for.”