After a torrid season where the Williams FW42 has been way off the pace of its competition and Kubica similarly way off the pace of his only real competition – team-mate George Russell – either party had just cause to end the partnership.
But it would seem (according to the wording of Williams’ press release) that the decision was firmly in Kubica’s hands.
What Williams would have chosen to do if he were keen to continue will remain a mystery.
However, with Nicholas Latifi waiting in the wings, and with George Russell proving that a few season in the lower formulae is far better preparation for Formula 1 than a promising top-level career eight years ago and no single seater racing to speak of since, it would seem that they might be inclined to agree with Kubica that it’s best they go their separate ways.
Kubica said: “I would like to thank the team for the last two years and for helping make my comeback to the Formula One 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.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of 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’s departure from Williams must also mean that unless he’s able to secure a surprise switch to Alfa Romeo, that he is also leaving Formula 1.
Kubica made a surprise return to Formula 1 with Williams at the start of the season with the support or Polish chemical company Orlen after a forced hiatus of eight years as a result of a serious crash in the rally of Andorra in early 2011.
His return was met with both delight and trepidation by those within and without the F1 paddock, who were largely cock-a-hoop to see him back, but were concerned that the obstacles he’d have to overcome would simply be too great.
And so it proved.
But to have achieved a comeback after such a lengthy layoff and after injuries as serious as his will remain one of the great triumphs in Formula 1, and we should remember Robert’s time at Williams for just that irrespective of the laptimes.
Thank you Robert.