Robert Kubica, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Williams clarifies reasons for Kubica and Russell’s retirements in Sochi

2019 Russian Grand Prix

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Williams has given further detail on the reasons both of its drivers retired from the Russian Grand Prix after its sponsor Orlen raised questions over Robert Kubica’s withdrawal from the race.

The team’s senior race engineer Dave Robson explained the cause of George Russell’s crash, which led to Kubica’s car being pulled out of the race.

“We found an issue with the wheel nut retainer on George’s car, which led to the front-right wheel not sitting perfectly,” said Robson. “This caused a lock-up under braking.”

Russell skidded off the track at turn eight due to the lock-up and crashed out.

“The design is very mature and well-proven,” Robson added. “The remaining inventory will be inspected thoroughly, and we do not anticipate a repeat of the issue.”

Russell also crashed out of the previous race in Singapore following a collision with Romain Grosjean. Robson said the combined damage led the team to pull out of the Sochi race.

“Unfortunately, we were forced to retire Robert’s car due to the amount of accident damage we sustained in the Singapore-Russia back-to-back races in order to protect ourselves going into the next events,” he said.

“The team has worked extremely hard to ensure race quantities have improved ahead of Japan and the final races.”

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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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13 comments on “Williams clarifies reasons for Kubica and Russell’s retirements in Sochi”

  1. Unfortunately, we were forced to retire Robert’s car due to the amount of accident damage we sustained in the Singapore-Russia back-to-back races in order to protect ourselves going into the next events

    Sounds an awful lot like they retired Kubica to give Russell his parts.

    1. Kubica’s car is a parts car for Russell. Sad. I expect this from a midlife crisis not an F1 team.

    2. This is exactly it.

      1. True true.

  2. What a terrible explanation. Firstly they sound (sensibly enough) like they retired the 2nd car on safety grounds. Then go on to say in so many words they don’t have sufficient parts should something have happened to the 2nd car.

    1. DodgerBlue88
      4th October 2019, 2:39

      Same path my mind went down as well, Matt! When they were mentioning the wheel issue on Russels car, it sure seemed like they were going down the ‘being cautious in the name of safety’ road. I still felt like they weren’t being honest, but at least that’s how they were going to play it publicly after being called out by their sponsor…

      And then out of nowhere they go on and say the bit about not wanting to run out of parts! For a team with Williams heritage, that just sounds awful. “We’re not going to race in case we crash!”

      No wonder Orlen was upset! They’re giving the team money to go race, and the team is just saying thanks for the check fellas!

      Maybe the facts in this story were reported out of order or out of some kind of context. Just seems even more bazaar.

    2. In a sense, it’s good, since they are consistent in their explanations from the weekend through to yesterday.

      Though I agree with you that it’s weird they start off talking about safety, and then end with conservation of parts.

      1. @phylyp I’m assuming the safety issue is why they’re short of parts in the first place. Still not something a large sponsor wants to hear, when they were presumably promised Robert would do a whole season and he’s now lost a race finish due to alleged lack of something the money was meant to buy.

        1. @alianora-la-canta – yeah, that’s a fair point. Let’s see how things pan out, and let’s hope it’s nowhere as acrimonious as the Haas saga.

    3. I guess they are trying to explain both retirements, and quell fears over poor design.

      Makes sense to pull the second car if the currently dont have the money to maintain adequate inventory of replacements. I read somewhere even a rear wing costs 6 figures, front wings definitely do.

      What that says about the state of williams is telling, i really hope they can last in f1.

  3. Pretty obvious. Williams initial statements was coy and now they’ve had to endure this embarrassement.

  4. They should’ve admitted straightaway that Kubica’s DNF was a direct result of his teammate’s DNF, i.e., a precautionary measure.

    1. I hope that at least for some Brits it’s a eye opener.

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