Robert Kubica will leave Williams at the end of the 2019 Formula 1 season.

The Pole completed a remarkable return to F1 this year after an eight-year absence as a result of life-threatening injuries he sustained in a serious rallying accident during the off-season in 2011.

But Kubica’s comeback has been hampered by uncompetitive machinery at Williams, with the British squad languishing at the bottom of the constructors’ championship table having scored just one point, picked up by Kubica in Germany.

While the 34-year-old has claimed Williams’ only point so far this season, Kubica has been outqualified by his rookie teammate and reigning Formula 2 champion George Russell at all 14 rounds so far.

Reports of Kubica’s departure surfaced in Polish media ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, with Kubica confirming his exit during the drivers’ press conference on Thursday.

"We are looking forward to the next year. I am looking for different opportunities but in order to evaluate other opportunities I have decided to take the decision not to continue with Williams," he said.

"So I will stop at the end of the year with the team. This is a decision which I took and opens a bit opportunities for the future in different scenarios and now I will evaluate what is possible.

 “I would like to thank the team for the last two years and for helping make my comeback to the Formula 1 grid possible. I have enjoyed my time with ROKiT Williams Racing, both as Reserve & Development Driver and as a Race Driver this year, but I feel that the time is now right for me to move on to the next chapter in my career.” 

Deputy team principal Claire Williams added: “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 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.”  

Kubica hopes to remain in F1 in some capacity for 2020. He carried out development and test duties for Williams during 2018 prior to landing a full-time seat this year and his abilities in that capacity were highly regarded by Williams, making him an attractive option for teams on the look out for an experienced driver to help steer its development.

An additional attraction to teams will be the financial backing Kubica can bring with him, with personal Polish backers PKN Orlen following Kubica out of Grove. The Polish petrochemicals firm confirmed it will continue to support Kubica and is in "advanced talks" with other teams over a possible role. 

“PKN ORLEN’s presence in Formula 1 has produced tangible benefits for our image and business," said Orlen CEO and president Daniel Obajtek.

"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.

"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 development driver and F2 frontrunner Nicholas Latifi has been tipped to replace Kubica to partner Russell for 2020, while Nico Hulkenberg is looking for a seat on the grid after being replaced at Renault by Esteban Ocon

 

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