Robert Kubica’s spectacular F1 comeback seems destined to end after a single season, with the Pole confirming his intention to quit the Williams team at the end of the year.
Kubica announced at the Singapore Grand Prix that he had made the decision to leave the underperforming British team to give himself the best possible opportunity to consider alternative roles for 2020.
“I’m looking forward to next year, looking forward to different opportunities, but in order to evaluate other opportunities I have taken the decision to not continue with Williams after this year,” he said. “I will stop at the end of the year with the team, which is a decision I took.
“It opens a bit the opportunities in the future for different scenarios. Now I will evaluate what is possible.”
The 2019 season was the Pole’s first in F1 in eight years, his burgeoning single-seat career cut short in 2011 in a horrific rallying accident that partially severed right arm.
His prognosis was to never race again, but Kubica returned to rallying in 2013 and began testing lower-lever single-seater cars in 2017 in a failed attempt to win a Renault seat in 2018.
When his overtures with the French team came to nothing, Williams offered him an end-of-season test and ultimately a reserve-driver role for 2018, which became a full-time driver position for this year.
But Williams has taken a substantial step backwards this year even after its back-of-the-grid finish in 2018. The car arrived late to testing, costing technical boss Paddy Lowe his job, and the team has been seconds a lap off the pace at almost every race.
A single point-scoring race — a 10th place to Kubica at the German Grand Prix after both Alfa Romeo drivers received hefty penalties — is all the team has to show for its year, and the departing 34-year-old made no secret of his desire to drive something more competitive
“I think first of all I have to do what will bring me back a bit of joy of racing,” he said. “Since I joined back Formula One, I would like to stay. I said this year it would be a goal to remain in Formula One, but of course my answer would be yes, but not at every cost.
“Of course this season has been very tough from a performance point of view but has also been very demanding — being back in Formula One after such a long time is not easy, especially when you are in the difficult situation we are in.
“We would appreciate better results and better performances this year and an easier life, because in the end it’s a very difficult and tough season for everyone from Williams, but I just have to move forward. That’s how it is. This is the outcome.
“But still, nevertheless, I think I have to thank the team for the opportunity. I will see what the future will bring.”
Kubica’s future would seem uncertain at best, at least in a Formula One context. Excluding availabilities at Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, only Antonio Giovinazzi’s seat at Alfa Romeo remains uncontracted next season, and Ferrari is understood to exercise discretion over that drive.
But the Pole nonetheless sounded confident that he would be racing next year, though notably omitted to say where.
“I don’t want to go too much into details, but as I said, I will evaluate different opportunities. I would be very surprised if I would be doing only simulator — I would be very surprised if I would not be racing next year.”