Robert Kubica, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Kubica determined to continue despite tough return

2019 F1 season

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Robert Kubica sees “no reason” to cut short his return to Formula 1 despite the lack of success he and Williams have experienced so far.

The team has been the slowest at every race so far this season. Kubica is yet to out-qualify his team mate George Russell and his finished behind his team mate in all but one of the nine rounds so far.

When asked by RaceFans in Austria, Kubica said it is “too early to say” whether he would commit to a second season in the sport. He dismissed suggestions he could end his comeback before then, saying he “sees no reason” to do so.

Last week’s Austrian Grand Prix marked a new low for Kubica, who took the chequered flag almost a full minute behind Russell. He said the race had been a continuation of the problems he has endured all season.

“It’s difficult to comment when you finish three laps down and nearly lapped by your team mate,” said Kubica.

“The comments are the same as always. I am sliding whenever I am putting too much stress into the tyres, I have no grip, and even if I try to keep up the pace I am able to do it maybe for two, three laps and then the tyres are overheating and sliding.

“I was even sliding at the exit of turn seven which is a fifth, sixth gear corner. Then you can imagine it’s pretty difficult to extract anything if you are just sliding and degrading.

“Whenever you put more slip into the tyres you go slower. So I have to drive to don’t slip them but then the pace is very slow.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 19 comments on “Kubica determined to continue despite tough return”

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      10th July 2019, 7:21

      Isn’t he just learning Pirelli-style tyre management?

      1. @hanswesterbeek: and reading Ken Block’s tire management book

    2. Can we use a photo of Kubica that doesn’t have that weird shadow beneath one of his nostrils?

      1. Gargamel is ugly from any and every angle.

    3. Can someone at @williamsf1 get Robert a few sets of the wheels Mercedes uses? They seem to be managing the tyres lots better since they have the new vented wheels. I’d love to see what Robert can do without the bother of tyre issues.

    4. Despite some rumors that Russell is being favored with better car parts / upgrades, to me Robert has some serious problems with race pace. I dont know if its the car’s fault or his, or a combination of both.

      When Renault didn’t gave him a seat (when Palmer was driving for them) despite all the tests he did, that was the indication that something was not quite right.

      After so many years of absence, plus his disability, We can all say that he is the TRUE ROOKIE of this season. He lacks the knowledge that the said rookies like Russell, Albon or Norris have over him.

      The best way to measure Kubica’s pace would be some kind of spec series, like Formula 2 or Formula 3 or EVEN Formula E.

      Again, I dont see him returning after the summer break. Maybe Russell will get promoted to Toro Rosso and his vacant seat will be ocupied by Ocon or anyone else. Even Marcus Ericsson is better than Kubica nowadays. Its saddens me to say something like that but its the truth.

      1. Cristiano, another oddity is the problems that Kubica claimed he had with his car earlier in the season, but no diagnostic tests seemed capable of proving his claims. Furthermore, I believe it was reported that Williams went as far as switching Kubica’s chassis with Russell’s chassis during the Spanish Grand Prix to see whether Russell could find any issues.

        With Russell apparently reporting that Kubica’s chassis felt fine to him, and Kubica not being any better off with Russell’s chassis either, that then raises the question of whether there was a fault with Kubica’s chassis to begin with.

        I think that this season is perhaps proving to be a rather painful example of “be careful for what you wish for, as you might just get it”. There have been many who eagerly hoped for Kubica to return, and many of them had impossibly high expectations of him based on an idealised picture of what he was like in 2010, where he was probably performing at his peak and probably had the lions share of the resources that Renault had available to them in 2010, given he was their star driver at the time.

        Inevitably, it set people up for what could only ever be disappointment, because the sport has moved on a lot since Kubica last drove and Kubica himself is now having to face a rather different set of challenges – and, having been out of the sport for so long, the question is now how well equipped he is now to deal with that different set of challenges.

        Perhaps, in many ways, it would have been better if he’d never come back to the sport – probably better to have the memories of him that we once had, rather than the disappointment of what he has now become.

        1. @anon is spot on.

          Its hard to judge him (Kubica) because of his injury and the bad car he drives, but its also inexcusable that he lacks so much pace compared to his teammate, that almost lapped him in Austria.

          Its really sad to be seeing all this. I mean, his return is inspiring, kind like the one Zanardi did, but if Kubica knows that his lack of pace is because of his arm, it would be fair that he admitted that, when proceeds to quit at mid season.

          Doing that is not a shame at all, IF his injury is really to blame for his lack of pace. Only Kubica (and Williams) know for sure what is really going on.

      2. georgeboole (@)
        10th July 2019, 11:39

        I feel the same. It looks like Kubica never got a grip of the new tires.
        He seems like he can’t understand how they work now and then and that he has not adapted his driving style to the new cars.
        Everybody sais that you have to manage the tires and push once in a while if you want to make them last. It looks to me as if Kubica is pushing them harder than he should.
        I don’t want to talk about his disability, it sure is amazing that he is even driving a Formula 1 car, but I m sure it gives him a hard time

        1. If he is pushing the tires so hard why is always slower than RUS, whether it is over 1,lap or a race distance? KUB has always been overrated and full of excuses, before the accident and now.

          1. georgeboole (@)
            10th July 2019, 15:43

            I think he is just doing it the wrong way.
            From what I read (and I m not an expert) the drivers do a warm up lap then push then a cool down lap. You can’t push for consecutive laps the tires or they will overheat. In my mind I think Kubica is pushing more than he should or his injuries don’t let him use the steering wheel properly. Or maybe none of these.
            But clearly something is wrong when he complains about the grip all the time.

    5. A nice fairy tale return, but unless there is a mid-year miracle it will end in 2019.

      There are drivers with better performance and more money just waiting for a chance.

    6. Give it a rest mate Rob – you are already an ex-driver. Sorry to say but Williams got you only for your sponsors as they seem not to care about good/fast drivers after Maldonado. What a YOKE!

    7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      10th July 2019, 10:59

      I hope he does stay. Firstly with that Williams it’s hard to really judge how good he is, but secondly the whole idea this guy lost his career due to that accident and has destroyed his hand and has not only managed to return to F1 but is performing is an amazingly good story. Still being last of the best drivers in the world still makes him better than most of us – and he’s essentially disabled.

      Also second, the fact that Kubica could be argued is struggling a little proves these cars aren’t that easy to drive and as he’s essentially a rookie again I’m inclined to give him more time – even at this point his feedback is probably more valuable than his speed.

      1. Well its hard to say that Lance Stroll and Kubica (the present one, not the one before the accident) are among the 20 best drivers in the world. But i can see your point and agree with it to some extent.

    8. If it was anyone else other than Robert Kubica in that car who was struggling against his team mate the same way Robert is fans would be calling for his head.

      Yes Robert’s return to F1 is a wonderful story but as the season goes on it’s becoming more & more clear that he isn’t the same driver he was before his accident, He’s just not as fast especially over a race distance where his pace has been horrible more often than not.

    9. While I’m glad Kubica was able to return to F1, the sad reality is that now he is just not quick enough, and can’t adapt to these new cars on Pirelli tires. His rookie teammate is a second a lap quicker almost everywhere. Its not going to cost Williams alot if he sees out the rest of the season, which is probably what will happen, but I’m sure this is the last we will see of Robert in F1 when this season ends. If Williams do sack him during the summer break, I would love to see Ocon in that seat for the rest of the year, just to see how he fares against Russel, and how quick an improving Williams could be.

    10. Kubica just does not have the ultra-fine control of the steering wheel to manage the rapid turns and changes of direction without slipping and damaging his tires. Not knocking his racing ability, just his physical infirmity does not allow him to do so. Time for him to graciously retire.

      1. Wrong! Watch him Rally AFTER his accident! There’s more than enough fine steering input…

    Comments are closed.