Robert Kubica will be back on the Formula 1 grid in 2019 after being named as a Williams race driver, completing a sensational comeback from life-threatening injuries.
The Pole’s F1 career was put on hold after a crash during a rally in Italy in February 2011, an incident that left him with a partially-severed right arm and restricted movement. However, after years of rehabilitation, Kubica tested an F1 car again for the first time last year before becoming Williams reserve and development driver this season, and the team has now confirmed the 33-year-old will be promoted to a race seat in 2019.
Kubica will partner rookie George Russell as part of an all-new driver line-up at Williams next season, with Sergey Sirotkin losing his seat after just one year and Lance Stroll set to race for Force India.
“I am delighted to announce that Robert will be stepping up to the role of race driver to partner George in 2019,” deputy team principal Claire Williams said. “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.
“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 returns to F1 after an eight-year absence from the grid, with a record of one win, one pole position and 11 further podiums between 2006 and 2011.