Robert Kubica will drive Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo for FP1 of the Styrian Grand Prix, the team has confirmed.
After a difficult comeback season at Williams, the Italian team signed the Pole to be their reserve driver for the 2020 campaign.
He has since completed two morning sessions at the winter tests in Barcelona, and will now make his return to official Grand Prix sessions this weekend.
He’ll be doing so in place of Antonio Giovinazzi for the first of the three practice session, and is raring to go.
“I am looking forward to returning to action this weekend, especially after the long break the whole world of motorsport had to observe,” he told the team’s official website.
“My objective, as always, is to provide as much data as possible for our engineers and to give them my feedback from within the cockpit.
“This weekend will be quite a new experience for everyone, racing in the same venue we were on just a few days ago, so it will be a matter of refining all the data we collected over the course of the Austrian Grand Prix and testing the adjustments we want to make to the cars.”
Once it was confirmed he’d be leaving Williams, he was linked to both Alfa Romeo and Haas, with his experience and Polish sponsor ORLEN making him an attractive option.
The former eventually secured his services and funding, and team principal Frederic Vasseur says he can help them improve at race weekends.
“I am looking forward to seeing Robert in the car on Friday. A driver with his experience always comes up with valuable feedback and he’ll be able to help us continue learning about our car,” he said.
“Robert was with the team last weekend, of course, and so he is fully aware of everything that was discussed in the engineering meetings and during each session: it’ll be a chance for him to experience the car by himself and, armed with that knowledge, help us progress further.”
Progress is something that they desperately need after a disappointing season opener. They were towards the bottom of the grid in terms of pace, with the Williams of George Russell qualifying ahead of both cars.
To make matters worse, Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire from the race after a wheel came off his car. On the bright side, Giovinazzi did at least managed to finish P9 and pick up two points.