Robert Kubica, Williams, Monza, 2019

Kubica confirms he will leave Williams at end of season

2020 F1 season

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Robert Kubica has confirmed he will not continue to drive for Williams in the 2020 F1 season.

He made the announcement during today’s press conference ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

“First of all we are looking forward to the next year, I am looking for different opportunities,” said Kubica. “In order to evaluate other opportunities I have taken the decision I will not continue more with Williams after this year, so I will stop at the end of the year with the team.”

Williams team principal Claire Williams thanked Kubica for “his hard work” and said she “respects 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 and 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’s announcement leaves a vacancy at Williams alongside George Russell for next year.

The team’s reserve driver Nicholas Latifi, who is currently second in the Formula 2 championship, is considered a leading candidate for the drive. However Nico Hulkenberg, who made his F1 debut with Williams 10 years ago, is also on the market having been forced out of Renault and passed over for Romain Grosjean by Haas.

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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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44 comments on “Kubica confirms he will leave Williams at end of season”

  1. Funny thing is he may well have been a better option for Haas than Grosjean, but of course will never get that chance. Nor it seems will anyone else. Forever.

    1. Perhaps not current kubica though, judging by his recent performance vs russel, who seems strong, yes, but it’s still a big gap.

      Old kubica is ofc much better than grosjean.

      1. but current Kubica is better than the old one

  2. Not all comebacks are fairytales. I am still your number 1 fan Robert, you are a true racing hero, espesially how you managed to come back disabled and scored Williams only point of the season. I wish you the best for the future, whatever it may be, I don’t care what it is, I just hope it is good for you Robert, and I will keep following you.

    1. Not a number one fan but it felt good to see kubica back in F1 car.

    2. I am also a big fan, and was inspired by his comeback. I hope he gets back in a FE or WRC car and keeps fighting, although at this point he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Kubica is a legend.

  3. Not too surprising, but in the end, it was perhaps never meant to be a proper comeback.

    1. you are right
      with such team approach, with lack of equal machinery, it was just a matter of time to leave them

  4. His come back was also compounded by the woeful performance of the Williams racing car. Perhaps if they were more competitive he might have been able to extract more from the car

    1. A racing driver is supposed to extract the maximum from every car they are put into. Kubica didn’t.

      1. He’s in good company with Bottas, Vettel, Gasly, Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Stroll etc, then!

        1. No driver has got the maximum this year really. Even the top 2 drivers (hamilton and Verstappen have had a race with a very poor outcome. I know Hamilton in the end got points in Austria, but he finished 11th. When was the last time this happened? I think it was possibly the first in the hybrid era that A Mercedes finished this low…

          Verstappen was incredibly careless after he got damage on the first lap at Spa. He should have been able to tell that he had obvious damage. but he tested it by flicking his steering wheel, with no result and not even bothering to break, then crashing hard.

          No driver had been perfect this season the whole time.

    2. When your in a back of the grid car your only benchmark is your team mate & in Robert’s case he was consistently significantly off his team mates performance.

      Robert been towards the back is down to the poor car, But him been as far off his team mate as he has been is simply down to Robert not been anywhere close to been as good as he once was. If he had been closer to George you could argue he was extracting everything he could from a poor car, The fact he hasn’t suggests he’s not been getting as much out of the car as is possible & that is on him.

      The sad truth is that be it his time away or a side effects of his injuries, He simply isn’t the driver he was & has done nothing to show that he deserve’s to be in F1 now. It’s sad to say given what he was capable of a decade ago but I feel it’s true.

      1. Can’t argue with any of that

      2. @roger-ayles I would put a more positive slant on it: considering his injuries, but even more significantly I think, how long he’d been out of the sport, it is simply amazing that he made it back into F1 and a testament to what one can achieve with death-defying determination. Bravo, Roberto. You have achieved one of your main goals post-accident. It may not be as glittery a comeback as you dreamed but, none-the-less, it is astounding. You will sleep better for it as you grow into an old man and though you may have regrets, they will be greatly lessened after these two seasons with Williams. What a star!

        1. Agreed, as opposed to being sad about his departure, we should celebrate that he came back at all.

  5. The fact that the TV coverage barely follows the end of the grid is great for him. I think most of the people has no idea of how far he is from Russell on race pace. In Italy without neither of them having big problems he ended up 73 seconds behind Russell, Hungary 33 seconds, Austria 64 seconds, Canada 57 seconds, Monaco 53, etc. In neither of this races Kubica had external problems. All of this compared to a driver that although talented is still a rookie.

    The story of Kubica’s comeback is great, but looking at it as it is, right now Robert is by far the worst driver in F1.

    1. Thanks for putting times on his lack of pace. His fans will come up with any number of excuses, but the bottom line is he was just not fast enough.

    2. It’s so sad because Kubica was legitimately world champion material, one of the best drivers on the grid before his injury. I’d have rated him above Rosberg. But ahhh he just doesn’t have it after that. It makes me so sad, but it’s definitely best for him if he leaves.

      1. Such is life.

      2. good rating, Robert was a champion candidate in my opinion too
        and yes, he was more hardcore than Rosberg, and shown us some really fast laps :)
        the fire inside was something, i’m seeing it in today’s Leclerc
        Leclerc’s eyes telling a lot about his enthusiasm, he looks like
        very natural born to do this, something like at Gilles Villeneuve.

    3. The discrepancy might have to do with Williams running different equipment between their two drivers as they tried to come to grips with their woefully inadequate car, but then again, maybe I’m just making “excuses”.
      It would be nice to see him in equal machinery with the likes of Stroll before labeling him as the worst on the grid, but that’s not how the game works, alas.

      1. That does not make sense at all, sorry. If that was the reason and Williams was just using is car for testing sometimes he would be faster, other times he would be slower. It was not the case. He was always the slower, and except for the races with Safety Car close to the end he usually ended up a long time behind his rookie team-mate

    4. Wow, thanks for the stats, that’s 53 seconds on average, or about 1 second per lap to Russel divided by the amount of laps in those 5 GPs. But I don’t feel sad about it, the remarkable thing is he made it back to F1 to begin with, but the decision is an obvious one. Best of luck to him.

  6. ‘Other opportunities’? lol…talking about denial! jeeez!

    1. ?? he can drive in WEC, WRC, DTM. heaps of opportunities.

  7. The whole Kubica cameback has been very embarrasing mainly for Williams that they probably saw that Robert was too unfit to actually be in F1 but probably got him for the sponsorship money. If they didn’t know how much he will struggle then another reason for them to be embarrased!

  8. Well, good.
    Williams gave him the opportunity and Robert gave it his best shot. And while the car might have been a pig, the difference to his newcomer teammate was just to big to dismiss.
    A good try, and full marks for determination and commitment.

  9. Hopefully Latifi doesn’t get the seat. He’s just not good enough. But he probably will, unless he messes up in F2 and doesn’t get the license points.

    1. An unbiased opinion by a Hulkenberg fan, lol.
      I also hope that Hulk gets a drive somewhere, now that Haas seems to be nearly locked down. If he does take KMag’s place, it would be a welcome surprise. Cheers!

      1. How would he get magnussen’s seat, considering magnussen has been the better driver at haas?

    2. latifi has been good in F2, fighting for the championship, that is pretty good, better than some drivers on the f1 grid.

  10. I would love to see Hulkenberg at Williams. Not so much because I expect it to be a step-up for him, but it would be interesting to see how Russell fares against him. If Williams sign someone like Latifi, all we really would have discovered for certain with regards to Russell is that he is quicker than an injured Kubica and mediocre pay driver. At least with Hulkenberg, we would be able to understand how he stacks up against the Perez, Ocon and Ricciardos of this grid.

  11. I wish Robert all the best in his post-F1 life.

  12. About half a year ago, it would’ve never occurred to me that I’d rather not see any more races with Robert Kubica. Fast forward to today, suddenly the prospect of seeing him end his career as an F1 driver comes as a bit of a relief. What a difference a few months can make.

  13. Sad, but inevitable.

  14. … and in less surprising news … [than the Grosjean news].

    I suppose the obvious replacement will be their own Latifi sitting second in F2.

    1. It would be nice to have another Canuck in the paddock, but Hulk and KMag are both on thin ice now, so I guess we will see.

  15. It’s a great personal story for Kubica, he worked hard to overcome his injury and make it back to F1. He can leave now knowing he did his best and achieved his goal.

    If I was Claire Williams I’d snap up Hulkenberg right now. Brings much needed experience.

    1. Think they will go for a pay driver, the need as much money as possible to develop the car

  16. I’ve probably been sounding very negative about Kubica’s comeback throughout the year. I was always a huge fan and only wanted to remember the good times.

    It really was a fairytale and I believe he tried his absolute best to make it work. His determination in the face of adversity should be an inspiration to us all.

    As a Williams supporter; cheers Robert. Best of luck in the future.

  17. Ok. I don’t think Williams or Alfa should be any close of an option for Hulkenberg. He lost his seat, not that he would fare great at 2020 anyway. But Ocon is already tied up for 2 seasons. Bottas has 1 year contract only. Toto does not like young guns rolling at the front. Mercedes considered Nico in the past. Why not join Mercedes as reserve/development driver with a possible 2020 seat at sight?

    As for Robert, I hope he fares well! It was worth the shot.

  18. Gz to kubica for making it back to f1, unfortunately as many said, all those years away from the sport and the injuries proved to be too much, everything considered I think being 1 second off his team mate is not too bad, have you seen his arm? Don’t think it’s unrealistic to be several seconds off, so he contained the gap as well as he could and if they had caught him being several seconds off I think he wouldn’t even have realised his dream to get back to f1.

    It’s just a shame that a massa-like driver, who could’ve won a title in the past, got such a career ending injury, but it probably strikes more cause he’s still alive and of a decent age enough to compete in normal circumstances, but it’s certainly not the only case, it’s not like senna, ascari, clark, rindt etc. wouldn’t have been competitive the following races after their deadly accidents if they had survived.

  19. Great move by RK. It does not make sense to stay in a car loosing parts (front wing, mirrors, side) during the race :)))
    With such approach he had to leave instead of loosing time in the worst machinery, even worse than his team mate had.

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