London - Robert Kubica says his dream of a dramatic return to Formula One is
still alive - seven years after partially severing his right arm in a
rally crash - despite being overlooked by Williams for 2018.
33-year-old Pole tested for British team Williams in the hope of landing
a full-time seat for the coming season but they instead opted for
Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin to partner Lance Stroll when they
announced their line-up on Tuesday.
Kubica's omission from the
race set-up has been softened by the role of reserve and development
driver, which will see him take part in a number of practice sessions,
while he will also be on standby for races.
Kubica took part in
three tests for Williams - he was slower than Sirotkin in the decisive
final shootout in Abu Dhabi in November - and he also drove on a number
of occasions for Renault last year.
The French team however, had
reservations over the Pole's fitness, particularly the right arm which
he nearly had amputated following his rally crash, and opted to sign
Carlos Sainz Jr instead.
Kubica, who returned to rallying
following his accident in Italy, remained upbeat that his new role was a
step towards competing again.
"My ultimate goal remains to race
again in Formula One and this (move) is another important step in that
direction," said Kubica. "I cannot wait to get started.
enjoyed being back in the Formula One paddock over these past few
months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical
"I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been,
but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I'd like to
thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for
putting their faith in me with this appointment."
Kubica, who won
the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, was regarded as one of the finest drivers
of his generation before the rally accident on the eve of the 2011
season brought his F1 career to a sudden halt.
He made 76 Grands Prix starts, and finished on the podium 12 times.
gets the nod over Kubica and replaces the retired Felipe Massa to form
the most inexperienced line-up on the grid alongside Canada's Stroll,
The 22-year-old Russian, who has twice finished third in the
GP2 championship, the feeder series to Formula One, has been a test
driver for both Sauber and Renault, but has limited experience.
"To say I'm happy and proud to join such a famous team like Williams is an understatement," Sirotkin said.
"It took a huge amount of work to get where I am, and I'm really happy and thankful to everyone involved."
announcement by Williams is the final piece in the driver jigsaw for
this year's campaign, which gets under way in Melbourne on March 25.