Robert Kubica, PKN Orlen press conference, 2019

Kubica: Staying in F1 will be the hardest part of my comeback

2019 F1 season

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Robert Kubica says keeping his Formula 1 seat will be the hardest part of his comeback this year.

Speaking at a launch event in Warsaw for Williams’ new sponsor PKN Orlen, Kubica said the sport had “changed a lot” since his last season in 2010 and “a very tough task awaits me.”

“The eight-year break certainly does not help me but I have experience and I am aware that I used to drive at a high level,” Kubica continued. “I set realistic goals for myself in the coming months and I am sure I will be able to reach them. If I didn’t feel prepared [enough], I wouldn’t work on my F1 comeback.”

The 34-year-old has been out of F1 competition since he suffered serious injuries in a rally crash in 2011. He said his goal was “not only to enter F1 [again], but to remain there.

“This is the most difficult task. There were many excellent drivers who left F1 after just one season.”

Kubica is part of an all-new driver line-up at Williams alongside George Russell. The team suffered its worst season last year, sinking to 10th and last in the constructors’ championship.

“The situation of Williams is not easy,” Kubica admitted. “You need to approach it realistically.

“I hope that the team drew conclusions and this year’s car will be a lot better. It is important to have a good start with good car because it is very difficult to catch up during the season. I will do my best to give the best possible feedback. I hope that the team returns to where it belongs.

“I want to do my job in the best possible way. I want to show that after eight years away from the sport I can be fast. But you need a fast car, it makes the task easier. There are always some unpredictable races due to conditions etc… and in these cases you can show something more. But you need a car which is nice to drive.

“My goal is to do a good job and to stay in F1 for longer. And my dream is to be happy with my work.”

Pictures: Robert Kubica at the PKN Orlen press conference

Image: PKN Orlen via Twitter

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Kubica: Staying in F1 will be the hardest part of my comeback”

  1. He will do great. great outlook.

  2. I truly hope that Kubica can return to the form he had before. If he does he’ll be fantastic to watch; especially if the Williams this year is better than last years. However seeing how Williams has operated its drivers in the past… I’d say he could win races and still lose the seat if Williams are short of cash. So really the quality of his performance is less relevant than the quality of his financial backing.

    1. Judging from the number of PKN Orlen stickers on the car, he is bringing more than his fair share of cash to the team.

      1. How many are their??? The car hasn’t been shown yet. This was a show car for an Orlen event. Also he is bringing less than sirotkin or stroll last year, that is god set fact!

        1. kpcart, Williams have already confirmed that PKN Orlen’s branding will be placed on “the rear wing, nose, intake system and both mirrors”, and that “In addition, their logo will appear on the drivers’ helmets, driver and mechanics overalls and on team kit.” This is nothing to do with it being “a show car for a PKN Orlen event” – that livery is the livery that the team will be using in 2019.

          As for the assertion that it is “fact” that Kubica is bringing less than Sirotkin or Stroll, unless you happen to work in Williams’s accounts department and have seen the financial transactions between those parties and Williams, or happen to work in their legal department and have seen the contracts between the two sides, you can’t say for definite what financial arrangements existed.

          When you say that it is “fact”, what you really mean is that the media were reporting that Sirotkin’s backers were paying various sums of money to Williams – which is basically the same sort of rumours that we are seeing now. When the media were saying that they “believed that” SMP were paying a particular sum to Williams in 2018 on Sirotkin’s behalf, you claim that it is a “fact” that is what they were paying. However, when those same publications say that they “believe that” PKN Orlen is paying a particular sum on Kubica’s behalf, suddenly the reports are “a load of rubbish” – it gives the impression that you only want to believe the reports when they tell you what you want to hear.

          As an aside, those supposed riches that Sirotkin was alleged to be bringing to the team do not seem to have been appearing in Williams’s interim financial accounts in 2018. According to those filings, the income of their team was actually lower in 2018 compared to 2017 – and, if Dieter’s sums are right, that difference in income is larger than the slight reduction in revenue from FOM between 2017 and 2018 (their F1 team revenue went down by about £5 million, of which maybe £2.5 million could be attributed to a reduction in revenue from FOM).

          1. Thanks ‘anon‘ for this detailed and intelligent clarification. I am so tired of the ersatz ‘facts’ that keep being spouted on the internet…

          2. Thanks for this intelligent post that keeps fact dispensers honest.

          3. Nice one, @anon.

        2. He could probably have got away with bringing alot less, seeing he was williams only option, after the others backed out.

  3. Well he got his seat by being the highest bidder, and Williams being how they are at the moment I don’t fancy his chances if someone comes along with even more. Unless of course he can do something extraordinary, which I hope he can but strongly doubt. To be honest I do feel that if it was only a performance-based decision he wouldn’t be on the grid at all, not even ahead of the man he replaced. But if he doesn’t perform to his satisfaction I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit it.

    1. +1 I wish him well but it’s going to be an up-hill battle…prior to 2018 Williams chose Sirotkin over Kubica, allegedly because he was faster.

    2. This is just plain incorrect, sirotkin had more money offered than kubica last year. This year kubica offered about the same much as last year…. It was a continued offer, kubica didn’t even have a manager working for him this year. SMP dropped their offer of contribution for the team next year, and stroll paid back Stroll’s 2019 contract, so now Williams was able to make a driver choice not on money. I really don’t know who started this rubbish in English media that kubica offered more this year, none of the reports I have read have any proof he did other than the line ‘it is believed that….’ in every single one of them.

      1. And by the way, in Polish media (where obviously more news is done about kubica) months ago they were saying kubica won’t have a sponsorship offer to match sirotkins. It was only after SMP dropped sirotkins offer for 2019 that the Western media straight away said kubica has secured a ‘larger’ sponsorship… It was not larger but the same as last year’s, but sirotkins dropped to about the same as kubicas. I believe the final choice was made though with stroll moving to force India, leaving Williams with no doubt a handsome payout.

        1. “kpcart” – do you realise you’ve become an internet boor by continually spouting this same anti-kubica comment every week…?
          Seeing as how you ignore all the comments that debate your ignorant ‘facts’ I presume not… as you will probably ignore this comment as well.
          Try to have a good day… ;-)

        1. He certainly surprised. Just 1 point in a Mercedes powered car– that’s a surprise!

      2. Robert’s bid was the same, but Sergey’s backer got arrested, putting his sponsor bid into doubt. No point promising more money than a solid sponsor if Williams has no guarantee of getting it. It was deciding a bird in the hand was better than two in the bush.

        Thankfully, in this case I also foresee a considerable improvement in driving quality and technical feedback from the move.

    3. …he got his seat by being the highest bidder…

      I believe Robert had it written into his contract that if either Lance or Sergey left Williams before their contracts expired then he was to get their seat. I’m not sure if this clause ceased at the end of the 2018 season or whether it ceased at the end of Sedgey and Lance’s contracts.

  4. If he isn’t fast enough that’ll be no shame on him, but would reflect badly on Williams.

  5. Go for it Robert :)

  6. It’s going to be hard to demonstrate his speed when the car is at the back of the field again. Losing out on that Rich Energy money will have hurt the team.

    1. I’m still not convinced Rich Energy has that money. Some folks on reddit did a dive for information last year when RE was trying to buy Force India, and what they came up with looked like a shell company with a lot of PR, but very little substance.

      The “Corporate HQ” is a housing estate and the corporate books show them as not having anywhere near the amount of cash it would take for a paddock pass, let alone an advertisement in readable font on an F1 car.

      If they’re funding Haas, I’d like to be wrong.

      1. I’d be more convinced if someone could prove they had been able to buy the advertised product in a store or from a reputable online supplier, without having to go through some sort of PR route.

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