Williams Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe has explained the decision behind signing Robert Kubica as its reserve and development driver for 2018 and expects him to play a key role in the team’s Formula 1 progress.

Kubica missed out on a full-time return to F1 to Sergey Sirotkin for the upcoming season at Williams but has been retained by the British team in a reserve role which will see the Pole take part in pre-season and in-season tests plus a handful of free practice outings on race weekends.

With the least experienced driver line-up on the 2018 F1 gird, with Lance Stroll and Sirotkin currently holding 20 race starts between them, Williams technical chief Lowe was eager to nail down Kubica for his experience and knowledge to aid its development for the FW41 car’s performance.

“We anticipate Robert will make a strong technical contribution to the team,” Lowe said. “Using his wealth of experience in track testing, simulator work, and support to the race drivers and engineers at every race.

“We’d like to congratulate Robert on what he has achieved so far. To overcome his injuries, return to fitness, and drive a Formula One car again is a remarkable achievement, and one that few considered possible.

“He is a driver I have admired for many years and I am personally very happy to be working with him towards our 2018 championship.”

Kubica, who still has dreams of a full F1 comeback, last competed in the sport in 2010 after suffering a severed right forearm in a rallying accident at the start of 2011. The former F1 race winner tested for both Renault and Williams last year as part of his plan to secure a 2018 race seat but has settled for a test driver role this season with ambitions to make the switch to a race seat next year.

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Hopefully RK can show what he can do when he hits the track in practice. This is also how he got his BMW drive.