Robert Kubica will complete an astonishing comeback to a full-time F1 seat by driving for Williams in 2019
The Pole, who suffered career-changing arm injuries in a rallying accident over seven years ago, will partner George Russell.
Kubica, who narrowly missed out on a seat with Williams for 2018, is believed to have rejected a development driver role with Ferrari in order to make his return to the grid.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) November 22, 2018
How his career was derailed
The 33-year-old’s right arm was partially severed in the crash in Italy in February 2011 which brought a dramatic halt to an F1 career that had yielded one grand prix victory and seen him hailed as one of the finest talents on the grid.
His slow journey back to F1 began when he returned to rallying before he took part in a series of tests for his former team, Renault, last year.
Kubica then drove for Williams at last year’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi, but the British team opted to take on the Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin ahead of the Pole.
Kubica was, however, signed to the team as a reserve driver and has been an ever-present at the races this year.
He is also believed to be bringing a substantial increase to Williams’ financial muscle via PKN Orlon, a major Polish oil refiner.
Kubica’s announcement was made in Abu Dhabi which stages the final race on the F1 calendar and the Polish driver spoke of his “challenging journey” back to the F1 grid.
“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me during what was a difficult period of my life over these last few years,” he said.
“It has been a challenging journey to make it back to the Formula One grid, but what seemed almost impossible is now beginning to feel possible, as I am excited to be able to say that I will be on the Formula One grid in 2019.
“For sure, it has been a long road to get to this point, but as that challenge now comes to an end with this announcement, a new challenge begins working with Williams on track.
“Being back on the F1 grid next season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life, and I’m sure with hard work and commitment we will be able to help motivate the team to achieve good things together. Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and believed in me.
“I will finally be back on the grid behind the wheel of an F1 car, and I cannot wait to get back racing.”
A disappointing season for Williams
Williams are poised to end the current campaign bottom of the Constructors’ Championship following a desperately disappointing year.
Kubica’s promotion from reserve driver with the Grove outfit will be at the expense of Sergey Sirotkin, the driver who narrowly beat him to the final seat on the 2018 grid.
“Unfortunately l won’t be racing in F1 next year,” said the Russian.
“It was a very long and tough year. If l am honest, l do believe we did a very reasonable job in the current situation we find ourselves in.”
Lance Stroll’s move to Force India is expected to be confirmed following the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.