Robert Kubica has joined Alfa Romeo as reserve driver while the team has been renamed Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN as part of a title sponsorship deal.
The Pole was in high demand as a reserve after announcing he would leave Williams at the end of last season. After initial talks with Haas, it appeared Kubica was close to a deal with Racing Point when the paddock last convened in Abu Dhabi, but in the end it is Alfa Romeo that has secured both Kubica and what is described as a co-title partnership with Polish energy group ORLEN.
“I am really happy to be starting this new chapter in my career as I join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN,” said Kubica, who started his F1 career with BMW Sauber in 2006. “This team holds a special place in my heart and I am pleased to see some faces still here from my years in Hinwil. Time and circumstances are obviously different, but I am convinced that I will find the same determination and hunger to succeed. I am looking forward to helping Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN make the next step forward.”
The deal with the Sauber-run outfit is a multi-year partnership, and team principal Frederic Vasseur said it shows Alfa Romeo is serious about moving further up the grid in the coming seasons.
“The exciting new partnership with PKN ORLEN is a statement of intent for both parties,” Vasseur said. “It is proof of the ambition of our common project and of our desire to compete at the very top of Formula 1. PKN ORLEN support for excellence finds a perfect partner in our team.
“We are also delighted to welcome Robert back home and we cannot wait to start working with him. He is a driver that needs no introduction: one of the most brilliant in his generation, and one who displayed the true meaning of human determination in his fight to return to racing after his rallying accident. His feedback will be invaluable as we continue to push our team towards the front of the grid.”