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Kubica out of F1 as Orlen moves to AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo lands new sponsor

Former Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team title sponsor Orlen has switched to AlphaTauri in a move that could spell the end of Robert Kubica’s career in grand prix racing.

Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo C42

Erik Junius

The Swiss team has landed a new title backer in Stake, an online gambling and casino company, and will be known as Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake.

Orlen entered F1 when Kubica was a race driver with Williams in 2019, and then went to Alfa Romeo the following year. With no race seat available Kubica took up a reserve and FP1 driver role that he held for three seasons at the Swiss squad.

He was given the opportunity to race in the Dutch and Italian GPs in 2021 after Kimi Raikkonen tested positive for COVID-19.

Rumours of Orlen’s departure surfaced before the end of last season with the Swiss team understood to have already found a new title sponsor.

However, there was still a chance that the company would stay, but in a subsidiary role, in much the same way that BWT took a step back at Aston Martin in 2021 having previously been title sponsor of Racing Point.

Orlen has now moved instead to AlphaTauri as a principal partner.

Kubica cut his ties with Alfa Romeo at the end of last season and it’s understood that he won’t have an opportunity to drive for the Faenza outfit, which would mean that his FP1 session in Abu Dhabi is likely to be his last appearance in an F1 car.

Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo

Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo

Photo by: Erik Junius

Asked by Autosport that weekend about Orlen’s plans, he said: “I don't know, I don't want to speak for the others. I'm not dealing with the budgets, I'm not in their boat. So of course, as I say, I have to take care of my duties, of my stuff, and this is my priority.

“Probably, then I will talk with the parties, whatever it will be. If it's this team or a different team, to see if I can be involved, if I can be useful, because I also don't want to be here if I'm not useful.”

Kubica insisted that if Abu Dhabi does turn out to be his last chance he would accept it.

“I'm comfortable,” he said. “In the end, I have been always very realistic. Let's be honest. At 38 it's not that you would be surprised if you will not get a drive anymore. There's too many ifs, so let's wait and see and react to it.

“I think my story showed never say never, of course. To be honest, the only reason I'm still here is that I get the chance to drive sometimes, and for sure the day I will not get even any car driving, probably it will be the end.”

New Alfa Romeo sponsor Stake is a global online betting company founded in 2017, and it already has relationships with Everton football club, Argentinian player Sergio Aguero, the UFC, and musician Drake.

Alfa Romeo Stake partnership

Alfa Romeo Stake partnership

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Sauber managing director and team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi said: “We welcome Stake as a new co-title partner for the team in what represents the start of a new era for us both.

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“F1 has seen a huge increase in interest over the last few years and the arrival of brands such as Stake are representative of the massive exposure our sport can offer.

“We are excited to join such a portfolio of sports and entertainment brands and we’re looking forward to the activation programme that Stake will unveil for our fans.”

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