Robert Kubica & PKN Orlen to leave Williams

Marina Bay, Singapore

Singapore Grand Prix – Robert Kubica has confirmed that he has decided to leave the Williams team at the end of 2019 after a single season.

Polish racing driver Robert Kubica has announced that he will not race for Williams any longer after the end of this season. Having made a triumphant return to Formula 1 this year and completing a seven year comeback from injuries that almost claimed his life following a rally crash in 2011, Kubica’s 2019 F1 season has been disappointing. While the Williams FW42 has been the slowest car in the sport this year, teammate George Russell has usually been ahead throughout each session and race.

As a result, Kubica has confirmed that he has taken the decision himself to leave Williams and look elsewhere for 2020: “First of all we are looking forward to the next year, I am looking for different opportunities.” said Kubica at the Driver’s Press Conference in Singapore. “In order to evaluate other opportunities I have taken the decision I will not continue with Williams after this year, so I will stop at the end of the year with the team.”

“I would like to stay in Formula One, but not at any price.”

Kubica’s personal sponsors PKN Orlen, the Polish oil and petrol company, have confirmed they will also pull out of their sponsorship of Williams at the end of 2019, but say they are now in ‘advanced talks’ with other teams for 2020.

“When we first began cooperation with Robert, we declared that we would stand by him regardless of circumstances, which is why he will remain a member of the Orlen team.” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO and President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board.

“At present, together with Robert we are considering various scenarios for the next season to choose the one most favourable to both parties. Our intention is to remain in Formula 1, reinforcing international recognition of the Orlen brand, especially in those markets where we operate our retail network.”

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams praised her outgoing driver for his efforts since initially joining the team in 2017 and said: “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.”

“Robert Kubica has been an important member of the team in both his role as Reserve & 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 endeavours.”

Williams say they will confirm their driver line-up for 2020 ‘in due course’. George Russell is already confirmed as staying on for 2020, but there is a vacant seat alongside him. Nicholas Latifi, the Formula 2 DAMS driver, is widely tipped to get the seat as a result of his backing and current role with the team as third driver, but Nico Hulkenberg is also a possibility. The German driver, who raced with the team in 2010, is without a seat for 2020 having been dropped by Renault in favour of Esteban Ocon. Haas, another possibility for Hulkenberg, have confirmed their line-up earlier today, closing that door off.

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Thomas Maher

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