With the second seat at Williams one of only two genuine vacancies remaining on the 2019 F1 grid, Robert Kubica‘s chances of partnering George Russell at Grove have been given a boost following reports that the Pole has secured a new sponsorship deal.
It is claimed that PKN Orlen, a major Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer, is looking to back Kubica with around £7.5m ($10m) in a bid to help him secure the seat.
Polish radio station Radio Zet claims that Kubica met with PKN Orlen president Daniel Obajtek in Warsaw as the fuel company seeks to agree a deal with the driver.
“At this stage it is too early to talk about a potential cooperation or any of the details,” Kubica is quoted as saying. “I am calm.”
“We confirm that a meeting between the president of the PKN Orlen management board, Daniel Obajtek, and Robert Kubica, did take place,” said PKN Orlen in a statement.
Meanwhile, Poland’s Next Gazeta which claims that PKN Orlen is seeking to use the deal to promote not only its fuel but its service stations, and in particular its Stop Cafes, quotes Kubica as saying: “I am calm. I can only thank my fans for supporting me. Let’s hope we’ll see each other next year, but it’s not like I will stop smiling. I don’t know what will happen but I can say I’m working on it.”
Russell’s move to Williams is clearly down to the engine deal with Mercedes, and while the German manufacturer is also seeking a seat for Esteban Ocon, the Grove outfit will also be under pressure to accept the money offered by Sergey Sirotkin.
Nonetheless, Kubica remains a popular figure in the sport, and while he has yet to fully prove his fitness in outright anger, signing the Pole could be a huge publicity boost for the team and the sport. A decent sponsorship package would also help.