Robert Kubica, Williams, Suzuka, 2019

Williams says Kubica’s crash shows she made right decision to remove new wing

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

The decision not to race a new specification front wing on Robert Kubica’s car at Suzuka was vindicated by his crash in qualifying, says the team’s deputy principal Claire Williams.

Kubica criticised the decision to switch him back to an old-specification front wing after he used the new version in practice. That older wing was then destroyed when Kubica crashed at the beginning of his first lap in qualifying.

“I think what happened in qualifying proved that we probably made the right decision because we did not want to jeopardise that front wing,” said Williams.

“It was a very clear decision. That front wing was never supposed to be raced anyway on Sunday. That wasn’t the intention. It was going to that event in order to evaluate it, it was its first outing, the factory had done an extraordinary job just to get it to that race because of the attrition that we’d had prior to that.

“It was a test item for Friday running only. It obviously proved to be a pretty strong component. But because we’ve got a lot of evaluation work to do on it to understand why it’s as strong as it is we didn’t want to take the risk particularly on a weekend where the weather wasn’t ideal.

“We chose not to run it and as I said, it proved to be the right decision because otherwise we would now be down a brand new front wing that the put a huge amount of work into in order to get it to that event and we’ve still got a lot of work to do to evaluate it which was the plan coming here, and for Austin as well. And we would have jeopardised that if we put it on the car.”

Kubica indicated some team members at the track wanted to run the piece but were overruled. “I wasn’t here that weekend,” said Williams, “so I don’t know what conversations went on behind the scenes in engineering. Prior to going into the weekend the plan was not to run that front wing.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“At the end of the day, the decision on something like that would always stop with me whether I’m there or not regardless of any conversations that might happen at the track,” she added.

Claire Williams, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019
“The decision on something like that would always stop with me”
“The decision, as I said, was the right one. I don’t think that it’s right or necessary even to go into the ins and outs of who said what over a race weekend, it just sounds like we’re airing our dirty laundry in public and I’ve got no intention of wanting to go down that road.

“We made the right choice for the team over that weekend based on what we’ve got to achieve over the coming weeks and months to make sure that we make sure that next year’s car is the best that it can be.”

Williams said she understood Kubica’s frustration at not being able to race a part which could have made the car quicker.

“I probably wasn’t wholly surprised [by his reaction]. I’m sure for Robert it was frustrating for him.

“That front wing was worth quite a lot of performance and as a racing driver he’s going to want to have the best car that he can have on a Sunday.

“But again, when you think about the global perspective, you’ve got to take all of those considerations and what’s right for the team as a whole, not just one element.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

24 comments on “Williams says Kubica’s crash shows she made right decision to remove new wing”

  1. The fact that Claire Williams knows that Kubica will not be driving for them next year factored into her decision. Its a horrible position for all concerned, to be at the back of the grid where Williams are, no one wants to see them there but there is where they are.
    The more concerning thing is can Williams get themselves out of this hole they find themselves in?
    George Russell is a talent and has a bright future, but will that future be in a Williams several years from now? Or will Williams go the same way as Peter Sauber’s former team, and countless others with a famous name but nothing left other than memories? To be gobbled up and dressed up as a B team for one of the big three teams, just so they can test out the next Alex Albon or Charles Leclerc.

  2. The crash doesn’t mean she made the right decision, just that she guessed right.

    This illogical retroactive justification is plain stupid.

    1. She is saying that she decided not to run it in the race because she didn’t want to risk destroying a very valuable development part that was a one-off, only run to check the correlation and the effectiveness of their development direction. As she stated they had to put in massive effort to even make that wing. And as further testing of it is required to understand why it is better there’s no point risk loosing it in a crash as it wouldn’t matter if they were 2.5 sec/lap slower or 2 sec/lap slower at that event. It’s more valuable for development for next year. Stop making excuses for kubica.

    2. Ok then what was the right decision?

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      26th October 2019, 16:05

      How do we know he’d have crashed if he had the new wing? If you let someone practice with a car and then significantly change it just before they go out and push the car to it’s limit, you’re asking for trouble in my opinion.

      I’d always defended Claire saying she isn’t there to make technical decisions so it’s harsh to blame her for the team’s performance but apparently, she is! Perhaps if the team was run properly, they’d be able to afford a front wing?

      1. Good point. My immediate thought after the crash was that Kubica was expecting front wing down force that just wasn’t there for him in the same way as it was in P1. The wind was gusty though, and ultimately Williams got lucky, for once.
        I hope Latifi can help pick up the pieces.

  3. Would he have crashed if he had the car he practiced with the whole weekend before?

    1. Despite his criticism of the team, some of his later comments suggest he might well have crashed anyway – he did later concede that he was not paying full attention to his surroundings and indicated that driver distraction might have played a bigger part than initially suggested.

      1. That was an embarrassing incident for Kubica. That clearly was not caused by malfunction of any part of the car. Reason #257 why Robert doesn’t deserve a seat in F1 anymore

      2. This is not true he never said that u are putting words in his mouth

  4. if that’s how Williams is thinking, they might as well not use the new front wing to the end of the season. Just in case.
    Also, if Kubica had new wing, maby there wouldn’t be any shunt, becuise for once, the car would be predictible

  5. It was an embarrassingly stupid crash – Kubica has no right to demand or expect anything after that.

    1. Do you even like watching F1? Maybe they should just do installation lap plus couple of donuts…. instead of pushing the limits.

    2. It was the kind of crash that happens to real drivers on real tracks under real pressure. Not embarrassing in my opinion.

  6. Since when new front wing is an extraordinary achievement! Some guys can go through 3 wings in on weekend if they are unlucky. It is consumable part!

    1. @kris_pa Just like there are other drivers less likely to fall off the track.

    2. Keep in mind this is Williams… it does sound a pretty sensible decision

    3. They cost 6 figures!!!!! Not exactly Bics or Kleenex.

  7. Sounds like a smart decision to me, but the way the headline is phrased makes it sound like she’s having a bit of a dig at kubica, which the article somewhat belies. I imagine it’s very strained at Williams for many reasons, kubica’s lacklustre performance among them.

  8. If you afraid to destroy that wing, don’t test or maybe don’t drive anymore in F1 because you destroying Williams reputation!!! Russell drives with new parts in new specs, Kubica drives with junk parts in old specs. It’s enough to looks on qualifys time in first and second half season.

  9. Her decisions ave dragged this team to the back of the grid, and now she’s dragging them miles off the back.
    Time for Sir Frank to get her out and a suitable leader in ASAP.

  10. I don’t like williams generally but I think this is the right decision, however it’s insane how poor it makes them look that they took so much effort to make that front wing and couldn’t risk destroying it!

  11. Rubbish from Claire, the team has gone down hill since she has been there. Kubica said the car felt good in practice with new wing, then the team switched it without telling him, though they told media that they intend to not use new wing. Why not tell your own driver???? Kubica then lost the comfort he felt in the car because of the change of wings. Now Claire is playing politics. I’m glad kubica is leaving the team. I feel bad for Russell and latifi next year, the team will only be worse, and it might be Williams last year (should be) in the sport. New young drivers in better teams will take away from anything Russell and latifi do in 2020, and they might be destined for formula e or dtm as a result of driving for this rubbish team that has bought about 2 updates all year even with the money they have (still quite a lot). It took them about 15 races to update kubicas steering wheel to how he wanted it, and they still got it wrong! They gave him ones with buttons in the wrong places to where he requested. . Claire Williams needs to go, she is not qualified for this job as the result show. And anyway, what sort of multi millionaire f1 team with hundreds of millions in sponsorship can oy make one updated front wing all year, not for both drivers, and no spare wings? It doesn’t make sense at all what is going on in this rubbish team. They should step back to f2 for 5 years and rebuild, as they ha e nothing in the pipelines going ahead to 2020 and 2021, they don’t even a e a head designer. I dont care for nostalgia, get rid of this garbage f1 team, they have an excellent budget and are not doing anything with it, I believe they are now just a front for certain stock holders, have been for many years. They lucked in in 2014, 8th best car, but best engine by a mile let them compete in top 3.

  12. What Williams is doing is going nowhere! They don’t let Kubica really develop her car, they just promote Russell and fear for parts…. Neither do they promote Russell in this way, because everyone thinking in F1 sees what is happening even better than we do, so he sees that he is a young man with no experience, a bit pulled out on a “star” by force. His “boasting” that the team could help him, that he dragged himself behind Kubica etc. doesn’t help, because nothing showed Robert’s class better – it’s his racing and his boasting. Against this background Robert presented himself DOSKONALE! Besides, how will potential drivers and sponsors of Williams react when they see how he treats drivers? And by not collecting points, they are not improving their situation. What are they hoping for next season? That they will suddenly “dazzle” and make up for the loss of money, knowledge and experience? This year they didn’t gain anything, last year they didn’t gain anything, it didn’t “move” them forward (in the opposite direction, so I think next year will be the same. So far they have gained a new, old sponsor, which is not even a budgetary progress…. Someone before me noticed it, but the reason for this catastrophe is the team leader and her loss. Without change there will be no change at all here, because she is not thinking about development, she is thinking about saving parts! If Kubica had had had the “wing” that they took off the car longer – once, he wouldn’t have had another car overnight, so he would have had better control over it. Two, a week earlier they would have had telemetry data, which could have helped with the development of both the wing and the car! Next season they will have fewer opportunities to test, because the test sessions are limited, so if I were her, I would use each of the races of this season to one thing – to work on solutions for the future. Mrs Claire doesn’t like that Robert publicly exposes not only her ineptitude in managing the team, but also the embarrassing standards and practices that he allows in him.He has already proved that he can be faster than Russell, but her it’s not in the taste of a Kubica was before the Russell. Not only that Robert drives scrap metal but also in this band there is a climate like in a travelling circus. Mrs Claire went too far in marketing, as if completely ignoring or not believing in her technology. Hiring Kubica and then putting Russell on and making Kubica the background for a young man is nothing more than “building the image” of Williams as “a stable of young, future masters”. Only that this “positive” PR is completely covered by what is most important in this sport – Williams’ results on the track and how he “promotes” Russell by saving parts for him or not letting Kubica win. This is not a good PR or marketing, it is a completely unprofessional approach, strongly distorted in terms of marketing, without a vision of a way out of the impasse or a vision of development. There is no one there who will lead the team in a much more balanced way, taking care of the results on the track! As I wrote above, the future Williams boss should try to save him and not build an “image” of a misguided strategy!

Comments are closed.