Robert Kubica has announced his decision to leave Williams at the end of the season.
After suffering life-threatening injuries in a rally crash in 2011, the Pole returned to Formula 1 in 2017 with tests for both Renault and Williams, securing the role of reserve and development driver at Williams last season before stepping up to a race seat this year. The team has struggled this season and is often well off the pace, and Kubica says he has taken the decision to not remain with the team in 2020.
“I am looking for different opportunities but in order to evaluate other opportunities, I have decided to take the decision not to continue with Williams, so I will stop at the end of the year with the team,” Kubica said. “This is a decision which I took and opens a bit opportunities for the future in different scenarios and now I will evaluate what is possible.
“I always said that it took a lot energy, a lot of time for me to recover and come back to the sport and rejoin F1. I would like to stay (in the sport). I said this year the goal would be to remain in F1. Of course my answer would be yes but not at any cost.
“First of all I have to think what will bring me back a bit of joy in racing. Of course this season has been very tough from a performance point of view but it has also been very demanding being back in F1 after a long time — it’s not easy. Especially when we are in the difficult situation we are in but nevertheless I have to thank the team for the opportunity and we will see what the future will bring.”
Kubica says he would be “very surprised” if he is not racing somewhere else next season, as he will explore other opportunities including simulator roles in F1. Deputy team principal Claire Williams paid tribute to the 34-year-old, who has scored the team’s only point of the season so far.
“I would like to thank Robert for his hard work and respect his decision to leave the team at the end of the 2019 season,” Williams said. “Robert has been an important member of the team in both his role as reserve and development driver, and subsequently as one of our race drivers in 2019. We thank him for his continued efforts throughout what has been a challenging couple of seasons and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Williams will keep George Russell in 2020 and says it will announce its full lineup in due course. Test and reserve driver Nicholas Latifi is in the frame for a promotion, while Nico Hulkenberg remains available after Haas opted to retain Romain Grosjean.