Kubica joins Renault for 2010
|By Matt Beer||Wednesday, October 7th 2009, 12:05 GMT|
Robert Kubica will replace the Ferrari-bound Fernando Alonso as Renault's lead driver in 2010, the French team has announced.
The 24-year-old Polish driver moves to Renault having spent his whole Formula 1 career so far at BMW Sauber.
Kubica had been strongly linked to Renault in recent weeks, and team boss Bob Bell said the team had been eyeing him for some time.
"Ever since Robert made his grand prix debut in 2006, he has been on our radar as one of the most naturally talented drivers of his generation, and he has delivered on that promise so it's great to have secured him in one of our cars next season," said Bell.
"Renault has high ambitions and hopes for the future of the team and we feel that Robert can play a big role in fulfilling them."
Kubica made his F1 testing debut with Renault four years ago, when he was given a test as a reward for winning the 2005 World Series by Renault title. But he was not offered a deal by the team and instead went to BMW to start his F1 racing career.
"I am very happy I will be joining Renault in the 2010 season," said Kubica. "I feel I have a special connection with this team because in 2005 I won the World Series by Renault. This gave me the chance to test with the team in Barcelona, which led to my debut in Formula 1.
"I share with Renault a strong winning mentality and feel comfortable with their friendly and open attitude. I'm highly motivated and optimistic that together we can be at the front of the grid next year and hopefully fighting for the world title."
Kubica finished on the podium in only his third grand prix, and went on to take his sole victory to date in Canada in 2008 - a result that helped him mount a surprise world championship challenge.
The Pole expected to be a title contender from the outset in 2009, but the BMW Sauber F1.09 proved uncompetitive and the manufacturer announced in the summer that it will pull out of F1 at the end of the year. Although the team has been bought by the Qadbak group, its future remains uncertain as it does not currently have a 2010 entry.
Toyota had also been keen to sign Kubica for 2010, but team boss John Howett admitted in Japan that it appeared Renault had won the race for his services.