Robert Kubica has announced he will leave Williams at the end of the 2019 season.
The Pole, who has been linked with a move to German Touring Cars but is not ruling out staying in F1, returned to a race season this year eight years on from a horrendous rallying accident that had appeared to end his career at the top level.
“I have to do what will bring me back a bit of joy of racing,” said Kubica, 34.
Kubica’s return, after suffering severe hand and arm injuries, has represented one of sport’s great comeback stories.
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“It has been probably the biggest achievement of my life,” added Kubica, who won the 2008 Canadian GP during his hugely-promising first stint in F1.
In what has proved a tough 2019 for Williams, Kubica has been consistently outperformed by impressive rookie team-mate George Russell, although he has scored the team’s only point of 2019 so far after finishing in what became 10th in the wake of post-race penalties in Germany.
What next for Kubica – and Williams?“I am looking forward to the next year and looking for different opportunities,” explained Kubica. “In order to evaluate other opportunities I have taken the decision that I will not continue more with Williams, so I will stop at the end of the year with the team.
“This opens opportunities for me in the future in different scenarios. Now I will evaluate what is possible.”
Kubica is not closing the door on F1, adding: “I always say I took a lot of energy a lot of time for me to recover to come back to the sport and since I joined, I would like to stay. I said this that this year would be a goal to remain in Formula 1
“Of course this season has been very tough from a performance point of view, but also been very demanding. Being back in F1 after such a long time is not easy, especially when you are in a difficult situation as we are. I have to thank the team for the opportunity and we’ll see what the future will bring.”
While an alternative race seat in F1 for 2020 appears unlikely, Kubica could conceivably continue in a back-up role for another team, as he did for Williams in 2018.
Williams’ current reserve Nicholas Latifi is the favourite to replace Kubica next to Russell in 2020.
Latifi, a 24-year-old Canadian, is second in this year’s F2 championship and has driven the FW42 in three practice sessions so far in 2019.
Williams say they will confirm their full 2020 line-up in due course.