Robert Kubica will continue to serve as Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver during the 2022 F1 season.
The news was confirmed after Polish petrochemical firm Orlen extended its deal to remain as the team’s title sponsor.
Kubica made two race starts for the team this year as a substitute for Kimi Raikkonen, who missed the Dutch and Italian grands prix after contracting Covid-19. The one-time F1 race winner also made three appearances in practice sessions, performed the team’s first shakedown of its C41 at the start of the year and drove in its 18-inch tyre test for Pirelli.
Alfa Romeo is the only team on the grid which will have a completely new driver line-up next year. Raikkonen is heading into retirement and will be replaced by current Mercedes Valtteri Bottas.
Formula 2 driver Guanyu Zhou will also arrive in place of Antonio Giovinazzi. The experienced Kubica, who made his 99th start for the team this year, will therefore provide useful continuity.
Orlen board president Daniel Obajtek estimated the value of the company’s exposure from television broadcasts through its F1 presence at “over PLN 550 million”, or £89.5m. “Therefore, involvement in cooperation with Robert Kubica and the Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen team is a strategic investment for us.
“As a company with an international reach, we have successfully built a common platform for conducting marketing activities in many markets in which we conduct our business. This paid off, the Orlen Group recorded a net profit of PLN 2.9 billion [£520m] in the third quarter of 2021 and increased its market share in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.”
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