Robert Kubica, Williams, Albert Park, 2019

Kubica: Williams compromised by damage and parts shortage

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Robert Kubica says his first day of practice for Williams was compromised because of damage on his car.

The team is also short of spare parts for its FW42 which meant he had to take extra care not to sustain more damage.

Kubica, who made his first appearance in an official F1 session since 2010 today, said his return was “a great achievement and a good feeling.”

“Unfortunately the feeling is compromised a bit with difficulty we are having,” he added. “Especially second free practice [there] was quite a lot of compromise with some damage we faced in the car.

“So we tried to limit the parts, fix the parts. But unfortunately we don’t have a lot of spares so we had to try to do the maximum from what we have. But it is difficult to drive and if you face other damage it’s even more difficult.”

“Anyway I think it’s good to be here although it sounds strange because normally if you are so slow it’s difficult to find positives. But I think as always you try to do the maximum from what you have and this will be the target also for tomorrow.”

Kubica said the team “faced similar issues” with damage during pre-season testing. “We have to stay away from kerbs. It’s not easy, especially when you are fighting to stay on-track.

“The positive thing is the afternoon felt better but unfortunately as I say it was quite compromised with what is happening.”

Williams ended the first day of practice 1.7 seconds behind the next-slowest car. Kubica indicated the car is not delivering a consistent level of grip. He said his level of confidence at the wheel “depends on what the grip is delivering.”

“I think we are struggling overall with the grip,” he explained. “It’s not a secret. You try your best. This morning was very difficult, we struggled a lot with general grip and this afternoon looks like we’d improved a bit although the lap times didn’t show. But the feeling was slightly better.”

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Dieter Rencken
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27 comments on “Kubica: Williams compromised by damage and parts shortage”

  1. They won’t make it untill the end of this season. 2 Seconds is not a gap that can be closed, especially with no money and a fake sponsor. It’s sad, but probably reality.

    1. Come on, it’s not so hard to make up 2 seconds just like that. I mean look at Mercedes.

      1. LOL!
        And more to come! :)

    2. Marcel, if we can believe kubica (so far, he has been pretty clearly telling things as they are) they were extra carefull not to damage anything in practice. So when they then throw caution in the wind, or at least take a few more risks, they should be easily able to find a lot of time just from actually using most of the track.

      Off course they will still be too far down on the time sheet to make an impression but it probably won’t be as far down as they were today.

  2. How much was HRT off the pace, I forget?

    It’s like they received a different set of regulations.

  3. It’s always hard to say anything definitive about an F1 car’s qualities from a couple of practice sessions at the first race of the year. For Williams, though, being here? Performing like this? After last year?
    Last year, with a car that they’ve said was a dog from the very first time it was driven, they were 2.5-2.6s down in FP1 (12th and 15th) and 1.6-2.0s down in FP2 (14th and 18th). This year, apparently with a better platform that performs more predictably, they have managed to be 4.3-5.1s and 3.8-4.0s down in FP1 and FP2 respectively, and dead last by 2 and 1.7s respectively.
    What a humiliating plummet for a team that only five years ago were third in the constructors championship with 9 podiums.

    1. @bookgrub The thing is though, it was always obvious even in 2014 that Williams was going that way. They were not a top team coming back to the front, they were a backmarker in spirit, always orienting rearwards intead of even slightly for one moment considering picking a fight ahead. In a way it was even more frustrating than now. -for me at least this is just the logical conclusion of what the team was doing the last couple of years.

  4. Kubica with those remarks really puts into perspective the somewhat positive mood in which Paddy Lowe was before going into leave on “personal motives”… That much better platform that Lowe said Kubica had reported in Barcelona seems nowhere to be found, honestly. It seems bleak already and we’ve never even got to qualifying where, when everybody turns it up, the gap usually increases. I’m trying not to be as gloomy as Marcel up there, but they do have a huge hole to get themselves out of…

    1. I might be gloomy, but following F1 for 30 years now, and I know when teams run out of parts, they either will be bought out, or stop existing. No parts means simply one thing, there is no money. And the poor performance means, no incoming money in the near future. It’s a downward spiral, which make me feel sad, but not less reality unfortunately.

      1. I know it’s a realistic assessment and I don’t disagree with it, it’s just it’d be really sad to see another team fold, especially one with such a historied existence.

      2. Perhaps not entirely true.
        Most of the parts are not machined but bonded and backed. Perhaps they don’t have so many autoclaves for making carbon fiber parts. I am also certain they had to revise some parts after the tests which further distorts we already difficult schedule.

        1. Indeed. Carbon fibre parts are not a quick turnaround. Also if the the autoclaves are already at full capacity then there will be a queue forming. This could have been made worse due to any changes they needed after the tests as they may have had spare parts going through the process that then were effectively scrapped due to design changes. What it means is that they will suffer for at least the first couple of races before the parts make it through the manufacturing process.

          1. As an ex aircraft composites designer I must disagree that autoclave time would be the holdup. Cooking time might be on the order of eight hours and you can certainly load more than one part at a time. The largest piece is the chassis and these are already made. I think tooling might be the issue, as layup time with only a single tool (mold) for each part would be limiting. No, something else is going on.

          2. SeveR i think it is quite likely that they only have one single tool/mold for every part, especially since the high turnover of parts, they are unlikely to make more moulds to speed that up because they are constantly making new iterations.

            so yeah, the autoclave might be a bottleneck but most teams really are at the limits of their production capacity at this time f yeah, so having to replace more than expected and change quite a few important bits last minute will probably have a noticable effect on parts availability.

            Remember Marcel, Williams still make almost everything in house, so it will rather be the limit on their own capacity than what we saw with FI (and the likes of Marussia and Caterham) in the last couple of years where they lacked money to pay suppliers in time, so then got parts delayed (since the suppliers naturally reacted by postponing delivery of parts)

    2. Williams is not out of parts because they can’t pay for the parts. Williams is out of parts because they are late in their manufacturing process. They also had to make some new parts to fix some legality issues for this race which have not helped with that.

    3. Someone send them a 3D printer.

  5. Oh dear, the amazing disappearing Melbourne grip strikes again… every year there’s always at least one team miles off the pace and scratching their heads all weekend.

    You’d think they’d be able to simulate it by now!

  6. Oh gosh, I thought it wasn’t great, but I never thought it was ‘avoiding the curbs’ bad. I still think that the finger has to be pointed at F1 as a whole though, or CVC, there are many very capable people at Williams I’m sure, and many have passed through and many have made mistakes, and many haven’t, regardless, with the infrastructure at Grove, they should have the resources to build a car that can race.

    1. I think it is far more complex than that. If there has been a major delay in finalising the design then the parts will have started to be manufactured late as well. It will be almost impossible to catch up quickly as a team will only have enough autoclaves for normal operations. (They are very expensive so it is unlikely that most teams will have surplus ones lying about). Then if there were changes after the pre-season tests they will need to restart the manufacturing of those components and this takes time. This is partly an issue with both tests being so close together and so close to season start. Basically if you find big things wrong with the car then you have no chance of putting them right before the season starts. Then once the season starts you will suddenly need far more spare parts than you did in testing and so that will limit how many new designed parts you can put on your car.

      So yes I agree that Williams issues are partly to do with the way F1 is currently run and on top of that their own issues that lead to the delay in the first place (whatever they were). I think if they can get both cars through the race relatively unscathed then they may be better equipped in a couple of races time at which point they can then focus on fixing any issues they have. If indeed the pace has been affected by not using kerbs then they could well be in much better shape than it initially looks.

  7. I wonder if Claire Williams’ opinion on B-teams has changed…

  8. Williams are compromised by having Claire in a roll that she not capable of..and thus has been going on for years…the blame is hers and hers only, there has been a lot of capable women in management of F1, and Claire is not one of them!!! no idea of what Frank was thinking.
    She will not let Williams become a B team, but now they are on the verge of extinction.
    Will they last the season out?

    1. Absolutely right. We all see what happened after this few years. Claire can be a person that keeps the Williams name in the company, to keep the heritage. However she is not eligible to run the whole team. They should hire a real boss, someone who can clean this mess up and make proper decisions. Who would like to take this over? No idea to be honest. Claire should be just there as a member of Williams family. The second option is to start racing as B-Team – if that is not acceptable for them, it’s over unfortunately.

      1. Rubbish, Claire is doing great a she is the front of a team with lots of problems but she takes all the heat.

        1. Problems started to rise after she completely took over. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  9. Jesus wept put the horse down. It’s race is run.

    Maybe Stroll wasn’t that bad after all considering his pace today.?

  10. Never mind the damage.
    It’s the un-damaged parts Williams should worry about.

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