Robert Kubica has confirmed he will not be staying at Williams after the 2019 season, marking an end to his remarkable Formula One comeback story.
The Polish driver returned to the grid this season for the first time since sustaining life-threatening and career-altering injuries in a rally crash in 2011. Kubica was considered a future world champion before that accident, which left him with a partially severed right arm.
Kubica's sole F1 win came at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. He was unable to add to that this season, returning with a Williams team struggling for form at the very back of the grid.
He confirmed the news in the press conference ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, saying it enables him to explore other opportunities for 2020. Although he refused to rule out a role with another F1 team he says his goal is to find a race seat in another series.
"It was my decision," Kubica said. "I know there are some consequences which follows my decision, but this is a completely different topic.
"It has been only my decision. Regarding simulator I don't want to go too much into details, I will be evaluating different opportunities. I will be very surprised if I am only doing simulator next year... I will be very surprised if I am not racing next year."
Kubica's news was followed by confirmation his financial backers PKN Orlen, a Polish petrochemicals ferm, would also be ending its agreement with Williams. The company says it is "in advanced talks" with other teams, with a statement saying: "We are considering various scenarios for the next season to choose the one most favourable to both parties. Our intention is to remain in Formula One.
It means Williams holds a vacant seat for next season. Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi, Williams' test and reserve driver, looks like the frontrunner for that drive. Latifi is second in the Formula 2 standings and has taken part in a handful of Friday practice sessions for the team this year.