Valtteri Bottas believes Robert Kubica’s Formula 1 return and spirit will help lift up Williams from a dreadful 2018 campaign for a fresh start this year.

Since Bottas became an 11th-hour replacement for the retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes in 2017, Williams has struggled to reach former heights and last year slumped to its worst F1 campaign finishing 10th and bottom of the world constructors’ championship - scoring just seven points all year.

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With an all-new driver line-up of Kubica and Mercedes junior George Russell, as Lance Stroll heads to Racing Point F1 and Sergey Sirotkin drops out of F1, Bottas feels the new driver duo can help revive the British squad after a tough couple of years.

“For Robert it will be nice to see how it goes,” Bottas said. “He’s been out of racing for a while, so it will be nice to see how he compares to George Russell.

“I think for the team, that has had a tough team – and I know how difficult it is to keep up the motivation and the good spirit when things are tough – maybe a new drivers’ line-up will bring more positivity and things to look forward.

“I’m sure they’ll be full of energy, both drivers, for the great opportunity they’re both having. Hopefully that will help put Williams where they deserve to be and not where they are now.”

As well as the driver changes for 2019, Williams has also shaken up its engineering department with Robert Smedley leaving the team at the end of last season while deputy team boss Claire Williams is eager for the team to push the reset button for the upcoming campaign.

Kubica’s signing dominated F1 headlines following his official announcement at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, marking his full comeback nine years since his last F1 season, when he suffered a partially severed right forearm in a rallying crash in early 2011.

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