Robert Kubica has secured a role as the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team’s reserve driver for the 2020 season, with his major sponsor PKN Orlen joining the squad as a “co-title sponsor”.
The Polish driver made a sensational return to F1 racing in 2019 following a life-threatening rally accident eight years ago. The 35-year-old struggled in an uncompetitive car, picking up the team’s sole points’ finish in a miserable year at the German Grand Prix when – perhaps ironically – both Alfa Romeos were disqualified.
Kubica announced his departure from Williams in September, paving the way for the Grove squad to promote reserve driver Nicholas Latifi to its race line-up to partner Kubica’s incumbent teammate George Russell.
With hefty sponsorship support from Polish oil giant PKN Orlen and known skills in developing a car, Kubica was courted by the Haas F1 Team for a simulator driver role but will now link up with Alfa Romeo instead.
Kubica previously raced with Alfa Romeo’s forebear Sauber between 2007-9 when it competed with factory backing from BMW. He picked up the squad’s – and his – only win at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
Thanks to PKN Orlen’s sponsorship, the Swiss-run team will be known as ‘Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’ next year.
“I am really happy to be starting this new chapter in my career as I join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN,” Kubica said.
“This team holds a special place in my heart and I am pleased to see some faces still here from my years in Hinwil.
“Time and circumstances are obviously different, but I am convinced that I will find the same determination and hunger to succeed. I am looking forward to helping Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN make the next step forward.”
Kubica will support the team’s main drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi next year, with the outfit confirming an unchanged driver line-up.
“We are also delighted to welcome Robert back home and we cannot wait to start working with him,” team principal Frédéric Vasseur added.
“He is a driver that needs no introduction: one of the most brilliant in his generation and one who displayed the true meaning of human determination in his fight to return to racing after his rallying accident.
“His feedback will be invaluable as we continue to push our team towards the front of the grid.”
Image via Williams Racing