The Formula One world nearly went into a meltdown when Robert Kubica was announced as Williams‘ second driver. Soon, it emerged that he had a significant investment pumped into the team. A few days later, the Williams team signed on a new sponsor. Obviously, this was no coincidence as this was the company that sponsored Kubica’s return to Williams.
Kubica’s sponsor, PKN Orlen is a major oil refiner and retailer in the Polish market. Reports in the country say that the company has agreed to sponsor Robert to the tune of $26 million dollars, split between 2019 and 2020.
Another source suggested that Kubica’s deal with the team was worth $17 million in 2019, which suggests that there may be other minor sponsors also involved. Whatever the case, it explains why Williams has chosen Robert. The other contenders for the seat were unable to match the numbers, ensuring Robert’s victory.
Performance was also another factor behind the decision, but perhaps not as much as Kubica’s fans think.
Poland has defended the financial investment into Robert Kubica’s return to Formula 1.
Just days after signing Kubica for 2019, Williams also announced that Polish oil company PKN Orlen is sponsoring the British team.
Poland’s State Treasury is PKN Orlen’s leading shareholder with almost 28% of the shares and votes.
The move to sponsor Williams was defended by Polish sports minister Witold Banka, a former 400m sprinter.
“Many companies have found that it is better to sponsor athletes directly than to give money to sponsoring sports associations,” he told Wilkowicz Sam na Sam.
Grand prix winner Kubica, 33, is returning to F1 after an eight year absence due to his permanent right arm injury.
“Robert Kubica arouses emotions all over the world, as he is one of the most recognised Poles. Investing in such a story is justified,” minister Banka added.