Robert Kubica has been officially appointed Williams Martini Racing’s Formula 1 reserve and development driver for 2018.

The Polish driver had been targeting a full-time F1 return this year having been out of the sport since 2011 after suffering a severed right forearm in a rallying accident. After testing for Renault during 2017 before being passed up by the French manufacturer, Kubica secured tests with Williams in 2014-specification F1 cars before his shot at the Abu Dhabi tyre test.

The former F1 race winner was ultimately outperformed by Sergey Sirotkin at the test according to Williams, with the British squad opting to take the Russian as its full-time F1 driver alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, but Kubica has been retained by Williams as its back-up and test driver.

“Robert will have a particularly active role within the team this year, including participation in the Barcelona pre-season testing, in-season testing, and will also take part in a number of race weekend practice sessions,” a Williams announcement confirmed.

“Robert’s experience and knowledge will prove invaluable to our technical group in the development of FW41’s car performance.

“He will be able to assist the race drivers and engineers deliver better qualifying and race performance, and of course, be available to stand-in as the race driver if required. He will also support the team’s media and sponsorship support programme.”

Kubica may have been denied his dream comeback of racing in F1 but the Pole is remaining optimistic for the new season at Williams in his reserve and development role.

“I’m extremely happy to be joining the Williams team as its official reserve and development driver this season,” Kubica said. “I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting their faith in me with this appointment.

“I have enjoyed being back in the Formula 1 paddock over these past few months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical team, both at the factory and at the track, to really help push forward the development of the FW41 and to make a real difference to their 2018 campaign.

“Having driven both the FW36 and the FW40, I’m looking forward to seeing how the FW41 measures up on track and working with the team to ensure we can maximise the performance of the car.

“My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula 1 and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.”

 

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Oh well, now waiting for another driver auctions in around six months time...