Robert Kubica, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Kubica: Baku track simulation “not representative”

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Robert Kubica says Williams’ simulation of the Baku City Circuit is not “representative” of the track which he will drive on for the first time tomorrow.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix circuit is the first venue on the 2019 F1 calendar which Kubica has no prior experience of.

“It’s a brand new track for me,” Kubica told media in Baku today. “I did a couple of laps in the simulator but unfortunately our track in the simulator is not representative to what is reality.”

Kubica added it is only the team’s Baku track model which is not up to scratch. He said he will take extra care during his “first approach” to the circuit in tomorrow’s free practice sessions.

“I would expect a higher level of alert at the beginning of the session which is normal especially when you join a street circuit for the first time.

“It will be, after nearly nine years, my first time on a street circuit after 2010 Singapore so I’m looking forward to [it]. It has always been in the past a special feeling to drive near the walls, near the barriers, it’s a different kind of driving.

“I think from what I can see from outside the Baku street circuit it looks pretty simple in many place but on the other hand it’s quite complicated in three or four places so we have to go through them. There is no need to think too much about it you just need to go there and discover and see what will happen.”

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Although Williams’s FW42 has been well off the pace so far this year, Kubica has described it as being more predictable than its predecessor, which he expects will be important based on his first impressions of the track.

Baku City Circuit, 2019
Kubica is the only current driver who hasn’t raced at Baku
“There are some corners where are very, very narrow. It makes it even more difficult. There are some points where braking is extremely difficult. You are approaching corners from very high speeds so of course if you miss braking point you pay quite high price and there is very little margin you can have.

“But all in all I can say very little because I never drove here so probably I will be able to tell you something more during the weekend.

“Hopefully I will stay close to the walls but not hitting them. On the street circuits it’s very important to have good confidence and good knowledge of what is going to happen but also a nice car to drive which is quite forgiving. This is unlocking you quite a lot of confidence and is fundamental on this kind of tracks.”

However Kubica is pessimistic the track will provide an opportunity for the team to score its first points of the season, as it did last year.

“Baku showed in the past than anything can happen. But still last year I think we were much closer to the others than we are this year, at least looking at our first three races.

“So from one point yes everything can happen here, from the other purely from what we have seen in the first three races I would say it will be very difficult or nearly impossible.”

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26 comments on “Kubica: Baku track simulation “not representative””

  1. Has Norris driven the circuit previously? I’m just a tad concerned about how Kubica’s losing the teammate battle in the few races we’ve had this season.

    1. F2 last season, so Norris, Russell, and Albon all have.

      1. @hugh11 – thank you!

    2. Well… and why are you concerned?

      Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, you were not really expecting him to beat the field after such a huge career delay, injury and a changed F1 World?

      1. @dallein – it would’ve been a nice feel-good story to see Kubica do well. I expected him to at least give his team mate a stronger challenge than what we’ve seen until now. I never had any expectations on him beating the rest of the field in a Williams.

        Secondly, today’s round-up had an article about Billy Monger wanting to come into F1 on merit. It feels that any future narrative about him (or someone similarly afflicted) entering F1 will always be now compared alongside Kubica: “You know the other guy who suffered significant injuries and went (back) into F1? Yeah? Well, he sucked”. And that’s not a narrative that needs to run in the media if Billy attempts to get in to F1.

        Back at you – what’s your sudden concern around my motivation behind my original comment? Pretty much every comment reflects that individual’s opinion, so what made my comment stand out?

      2. @dallein, a lot of people expected a come back on his previous level or at least hoped for that to happen.
        So its a pity he does not deliver. Maybe Russell is extremely good or Kubica is not able to handle the level of performance in F1.

        1. I believe it’s too soon to judge him. On his case, it looks that the floor from each car is different, so it’s hard to compare with Russell. But if we considered that Russell was the champion on a strong F2 field and has strong ties to Mercedes, I think under these circumstances Kubica is faring rather well. I suspect that by mid season he will start delivering more consistent race performances. On Qualy, he’s on top with Russel already.

    3. @phylyp I still have the impression that something is wrong with Kubica’s chassis and/or that it’s not equal to Russell’s.

    4. @phylyp Mark Hughes reported that Williams found kubicas car is suffering an 8% aero loss to Russell’s, Williams have been trying to determine why, so in bahrain testing only used kubicas chassis, and in China fp1 swapped the floors on the 2 cars and Kubica was quicker the whole session. Give it some time, at least kubica has matched Russell to a hundredth of a second in last 2 qualifyings. Here’s a video for you from china: and every lap time of the 2 drivers in china:
      Kubica is doing OK considering no single seater racing in 8 years, driving at the highest level racing series with 1.5 arms and the worst car with a car deficit to his teammate. Watch that onboard, Russell is struggling too in that car

      1. Whoa, that’s very interesting, thanks for sharing. So @matthijs ‘s impression was right that there is a difference in the cars.

        1. It’s such a difficult situation to judge, a returning star, but in the worst car on the grid. Its sad. Any other team would have given him a new chassis by now, but Williams are struggling to produce parts.

  2. Kubica seems to talk to the press only to criticise his team one way or another while reminding us of his previous experience. It’s almost as if he doesn’t expect to be there fort the long haul.

    1. Or he’s trying to cover up for his own lack of performance

    2. He’s only being honest, which is a quality that doesn’t seem to exist in the F1 paddock so I understand why his comments may shock.
      But keep in mind he’s paying millions of dollars through his sponsors to get in the car, so he has the right to except Williams to provide him a competitive car. Something is clearly wrong if they can’t even get an accurate track model.

      1. We do not know if anyone has an accurate track model so they may well not be the only ones. I imagine as the track is a working set of streets then they change quite regularly. They may have a very accurate model of last years track, but that may well be different in characteristics from this years.

      2. Sirotkin paid even more and never said a bad thing about Williams. This is not honesty, this is just bad team play.

        1. @basil rubbish, kubica always said it how it is, even when performing well, why should he talk political goody goody words to the press? He is loved in the team and surports all his team, engineers etc, that is where it matters. The press asks him for an opinion and he does not lie, he is not one of these manufactured drivers that are taught to be PR friendly.

  3. So… Williams can’t even afford a half decent video game.

    A flippant comment perhaps, but with each team spending $$ to scan all the tracks surely it’s one of the items which can be standardized for ’21 with the teams buying it ‘off the shelf’ from the FIA/tendered company?

  4. 1. Williams doesn’t have up-to-date simulator software for Baku.
    2. Williams have a reserve driver (Latifi) who does not have a superlicence to allow him to race.
    3. Williams are still using an ‘old-style’ steering-wheel that looks to be 3-4 years old. Even if it has been improved over the years it does not have the screen on the wheel, which I believe is now standard.

    I can’t wait for Mr Head to come up with some solutions… Something… One might just say, anything…!

    1. both Williams cars have the screen, it is just below the shift lights, but it is not on the wheel. certain teams ran this configuration in earlier years as well

      1. BlackJackFan
        26th April 2019, 2:06

        Hi FR – Which is why I called it “an ‘old-style’ steering-wheel that looks to be 3-4 years old”. I think it’s also above the shift-lights… ;-)

    2. BlackJackFan, with regards to the steering wheel arrangement, that could also be down to driver preference – it’s more common these days to have the screen built into the wheel, but some drivers have preferred having a static screen display instead.

      It is also worth noting that Williams are not the only team which either has no reserve driver, or has a reserve driver without a full superlicence. Sauber technically has Ericsson, but most of his races in IndyCar clash with F1 events, so he probably couldn’t actually compete in about two thirds of the season – Vasseur mentioned late last year that the team was struggling to find somebody who could cover for Ericsson for the first two thirds of this season if a sudden need arose and Ericsson needed time to move away from IndyCar.

      Haas’s reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi, is also ineligible for a superlicence – as for Ferrari, there is some ambiguity over whether they have an official reserve driver as Davide Rigon, Brendon Hartley and Pascal Wehrlein are all officially classified as development drivers.

      1. BlackJackFan
        26th April 2019, 2:13

        Thanks anon, as always. It did occur to me about driver preference but, in the circumstances it seemed less likely.
        As for reserve drivers, thanks for the clarification – I was hoping you would have this info. It is a very odd situation though, isn’t it… Every team needs a reserve driver, to cover illness/accident. Suppose half a dozen drivers got food poisoning after Quali… Would make for an odd race ;-)

  5. @basil rubbish, kubica always said it how it is, even when performing well, why should he talk political goody goody words to the press? He is loved in the team and surports all his team, engineers etc, that is where it matters. The press asks him for an opinion and he does not lie, he is not one of these manufactured drivers that are taught to be PR friendly.

    1. kpcart – many of us here are also KUB supporters… but you’ve now reached troll status… lol.

  6. Williams’ Baku drain cover simulation not representative. Unbelievable.

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