Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Williams praises morale-boosting efforts of ‘extraordinary’ Russell and Kubica

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In the round-up: Claire Williams says her teams’ drivers have made an extraordinary effort despite knowing they are likely to finish every race last.

What they say

Williams praised her drivers for helping to keep morale up at the team.

Both drivers have done more than we could possibly have expected them to. I know that they knew as much as we did that coming into this season was going to be difficult.

But both have been extraordinarily instrumental in maintaining and supporting the morale within the team, being really good team players and keeping a level head. That must be incredibly difficult for them when they’ve both – as much as Robert’s now new in Formula 1 this is his kind of rookie year after a ‘break’ away.

That must be quite difficult for them to have to go out every race weekend knowing that they’re probably going to qualify last and finish last. But they’ve done a great job. I hope that continues.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Did McLaren approach Indianapolis the wrong way?

That’s a shame for Bob Fernley, but another example of McLaren hubris.

I understand why they went it alone, but they were woefully unprepared. Why anyone cares that a Bahrain/Saudi-owned team failed to qualify is beyond me; they have as much in common with McLaren’s seventies Indy success as the Dany Bahar inspired Lotus KVRT.

Humiliation isn’t too strong a description. Good for Danica Patrick praising Juncos and Kyle Kaiser’s successful bump rather than bothering about McLaren.

Last weekend’s Caption Competition winner will appear in tomorrow’s round-up.

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On this day in F1

  • Born today in 1942: Danny Ongais, the only driver from Hawaii to start an F1 race

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Williams praises morale-boosting efforts of ‘extraordinary’ Russell and Kubica”

  1. Was Liam one of those who got sacked by Zack, because his heart and soul weren’t good enough?

    1. @johnmilk Ouch! Really, was that necessary? From his Twitter bio it says he is a mechanic on the project, not exactly management with responsibility for the decisions made (and many, many mistakes made)… Did the tea lady get the sack too?

      1. @tonyyeb only two people are blameless apparently. Even though one does admit to have mismanaged the whole thing (see Zack’s interview) and the other did crash a car on practice.

        1. @johnmilk I’m sure everyone played their part in the project but is sacking everyone the answer?! That’s Trump mentality.

          1. @tonyyeb I don’t think it is, but from the words of Zack Brown he clearly is on the hunt. His interview was surreal to me. You haven’t read, do it, link is in the round-up and it is guaranteed comedy, drama and tragedy

          2. @johnmilk I’ve read it. It is very clear that the people responsible that basic check lists are followed are the one’s at risk. The mechanics set the car up. They don’t buy steering wheels, pick Carlin as an out of depth partner, go begging for pit lane support like a bunch of amateurs. Converting inches to metric is something even Nasa and the ESA have got wrong before. The gearing of the car is a major setup discussion for the Indy (and almost every race in the world). How that got missed is bonkers.

          3. @tonyyeb after reading that, I’m surprised they didn’t use the aero package for the road races.

            It is a complete and utter failure from everyone involved and a blame game like I haven’t seen before (what a morale booster that reaction might have been in wooking).

            Carlin last year qualified well, wasn’t easy but they qualified two cars, even them got caught in the whole mess

          4. @johnmilk that I agree with, it has been a complete farce but at least that team has learnt some valuable lessons. With better management, direction, preparation etc next year could be quite successful. Plus they should do the whole season, they’ll be much better off then.

          5. Plus they should do the whole season

            @tonyyeb – fully agree with this. It gets the team operating on a tempo, irons out operational and other errors over time, instead of the team coming across as dilettantes showing up for a single event.

        2. ColdFly (@)
          21st May 2019, 13:35

          That whole Sack Brown interview was hilareous, @johnmilk, @tonyyeb.
          Normally, I applaud this level of openness. But here it seemed that Sack was blaming everybody but himself. The small Mea Culpa’s didn’t come across as sincere but more ‘I should have done it myself from the start’. I think everybody in the McLaren (Indy) team feels bad now, except for the ‘saviour’ Sack.
          And I hope Fernley gets relieved from his gardening duties soon, as I’m sure that he’ll have a different view on all of this.

          1. @coldfly “Sack Brown” is gold. People can use it as a nickname, but I can see many others using it as a slogan

    2. Proof that hearts and souls don’t win motor races.

      Preparation, expertise and lots of money do that.

  2. Claire Williams also claimed only one member of the racing team has left since last year. All of the others who’ve gone missing were on a bus that disappeared somewhere in the Oxfordshire Triangle. The search for them continues.

    1. Might be they are having a gardening party at Paddy’s Jon Bee

  3. Just saw the news that Niki Lauda has died. Sorry to hear that. What a driver, what a life. Most people would have never survived the crash. He went on to so many incredible ventures. Vaya con dios…

    1. Goodnight Mr Lauda, thank you for your contribution to Formula 1.

      1. Thank you Niki for your contribution to Life,

    2. Just saw it too.
      I grew up admiring legends like Niki and that admiration has never waned. He has been and will continue to be sorely missed. A true champion in every sense of the word.
      RIP Niki Lauda and condolences to all family and friends.

  4. BlackJackFan
    21st May 2019, 3:12

    Really sad news today… I have been waiting patiently for his return to the circuits but worried by the total absence of News – almost as if nobody cared…
    Is Niki the last of the true Legends to be taken from us…?
    At the moment I’m unable to think there are any more left…
    Really sad news today

    1. Yes very sad indeed he achieved a lot in life.
      I think Alain Prost would still be considered a true legend of F1.

      1. BlackJackFan
        21st May 2019, 6:44

        Prost did occur to me but… somehow he’s not the same for me…

    2. I mean, it’s all subjective, this talk of legends, but stirling moss is objectively and empirically a legend.

  5. RIP Lauda! ☹️

  6. Even at the age of 70, after the super human life he’s had, its still sad. Such an inspiring individual.
    RIP Niki
    I hope James is waiting for you :)

    1. @Euro Brun

      Oh! the burning rubber and petrol fumes in heaven !

  7. Damn, I’ve been using his helmet as my avatar icon on this site for a few years now. Today I lost a hero

  8. “Spec racing is hard. It’s all about details, not design,” said veteran Sebastien Bourdais, who qualified seventh for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.

    Bourdais makes an interesting point in the RACER article. McLaren seems to have taken an engineering approach to their Indy entry this year, which clearly did not pay off. Perhaps Bob Fernley was indeed the wrong choice of leadership in a spec series, since he just came out of F1, which is completely engineering-driven rather than set-up driven. I’ll be looking at major people moves from midfield/leading teams in Indycar if Zak is serious about racing full-time in the series.

    1. Hard to tell, but reading that article about the series of oops moments that went with their entry, it is clear that they managed things wrong and never really caught up with that wrong approach anymore @sundark

    2. I’m just an armchair fan that spends a little too much time around here, regardless if I were a CEO of a motorsports company, and in my human resources I have Bob Fernley and Gil de Ferran, and I plan to enter an F1 and Indycar program, I know exactly where I would put each one of them

      1. @johnmilk – LOL :) You’d think that’d be an easy and obvious decision for McLaren, wouldn’t you?

        But in their defence, Gil joined in mid-2018, so they probably didn’t want to rock the F1 boat by yanking him out and dropping Bob in there. If anything, McLaren’s improved form in F1 this year should be a relief that they’re at least starting to get something right.

        1. @phylyp that’s true, I will admit to that. However they also yanked Gill into the program when they noticed that things weren’t going exactly as planned

          1. @johnmilk – interesting. Any idea when they pilled Gil into the Indy programme? I’m curious to know a timeline of when McLaren realized things were getting out of hand.

          2. @phylyp it must have been around the start of the week before qualifying. I haven’t seen any picture of footage with Fernley though, I wonder what happened. Maybe I’m digging too much into it

          3. @johnmilk – we may never know, tbh. I’m still waiting to hear from Bob about the FI to RPFI transition!

  9. Had to add this here, thought it very interesting stuff from Norris: Reuters: Motor racing F1-rookie Norris faces up to the fear factor (and talks about how sim racing helps him become a better racer, which is a good counter to Brundle’s ‘teenagers who can drive the car by lunchtime’ – seems that’s bc. they drove it the over the last weeks, and yesterday evening on sims already, trying different setups, tracks, old man (my opinion).

  10. This American hire and fire culture at McLaren has become very tiresome.

  11. The depth of McLaren incompetence in that article is nearly unfathomable. It’s remarkable that it was Zak Brown who spilled all the beans to AP’s Jenna Fryer. The interview is honest, but also reads like a passive-aggressive plea to the McLaren board to let him get more involved with IndyCar—that the desire to appear to be laser-focused on F1 hurt the race team.

    This will be fascinating to watch going forward…and I hope it doesn’t mean the end of McLaren’s full-time IndyCar efforts.

    1. @markzastrow – very true. Seeing the comments here, I went and read the article, and Zak seems to have an agenda, with him providing a timeline of bloopers, and comments like “Zak shouldn’t be searching for steering wheels”. Not exactly “take one for the team” behaviour.

      I agree with his statement that it is a lack of PM skills, but part of PM is also identifying risks and escalating concerns. Without knowing what has transpired in the past months, it seems a bit odd to suddenly open up like this when their qualifying attempt failed.

      I would like to hear Bob Fernley’s side of the story (assuming he’s not contractually gagged). Given his F1 history, I’m willing to give Bob the benefit of the doubt that he was probably asking for more resources, flagging up concerns, etc.

  12. “didn’t even have a steering wheel”
    “Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels.”
    “not the proper McLaren “papaya orange.”
    “the color… cost McLaren almost two full days of track time”
    “McLaren’s poor showing is one of the biggest failures in Indy 500 history.”
    “the team had purchased incorrect tire sensors”
    “the panicked McLaren team begged and borrowed across the paddock for any assistance available.”
    “a mistake was made in converting inches to the metric system”
    “Alonso was knocked from the field by… tiny Juncos Racing”
    “the car had the wrong gear ratio setup”

    McLaren – a total joke of a company…

    1. robinsonf1 (@)
      21st May 2019, 10:56

      Well when you put it like that…

  13. There will be repercussions for those who don’t deserve to work for a great team like McLaren.

    McLaren officially have lost all my support, what a garbage attitude Zak has. He needs to seriously learn how to manage from Toto. Their no blame culture of identifying and fixing mistakes without people having to fear “repercussions” is making them the greatest team in F1 history while McLaren continue to be a bright orange calamity.

    1. True, Toto would not have expected to make the final 30 in the first place – fans, drivers, mechanics s etc. would have been told this ad nauseam. In the end 31st place would have been seen as a success and Alonso’s performance in qualifying rated as one of his best ever…..

      1. Be sarcastic all you want but my point still stands that Toto and Mercedes team management approach is proven to be miles better than McLarens blame culture. See also Ferrari.

  14. Scandalous!!!
    The shockingly poor project management and execution is appalling enough – but to then have the boss tell the world in such detail how crap his organisation is!?!?!?!?


  15. Since January. And you didn’t notice you were missing the correct steering wheel. #1 mechanic indeed.
    The AP article is the best I’ve read in a while.
    Shooting on the team is too easy a target right now so I’ll just say: do better.

    The one new thing I got out of that was that I genuinely thought Indycars were wrapped, not painted.

  16. The linked article on Kimi’s debut test with Sauber is quite a nice read. Great memories from those involved within the Sauber team and others present at the testing. I still remember the huge uproar regarding whether Kimi should be granted a Superlicense or even allowed to race even if he was granted one by the FIA. Fairly early days in the forerunner of social media — online bulletin boards and forums — but no lack of opinions, armchair F1 experts and haters all riled up looking for a punching bag. Kimi was it for a while, but fortunately quieted the critics fairly quickly by doing well.

  17. BJ (@beejis60)
    21st May 2019, 21:09

    Re: Unser Jr: just because someone got an OWI/DWI/DUI, it doesn’t mean they are an alcoholic. It does mean they made a poor choice to get behind the wheel, but I know plenty of people who have been arrested for this who are not alcoholics. So Harding Steinbrenner, kindly learn the difference before attempting to shame someone publicly.

    Additionally, Hank Steinbrenner’s brother-in-law was arrested for a DUI some 12 years ago but neither he nor the Yankees made a peep about that, even though he was the man poised to take over the Yankees operation…

  18. The inside story of Raikkonen’s legendary first F1 test (F1)

    Excellent read!

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