Robert Kubica, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

“Huge run of bad luck” caused Williams spare parts shortage

2019 F1 season

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The parts shortage which led Williams to retire Robert Kubica from the Russian Grand Prix was the result of a “huge run of bad luck” according to deputy team principal Claire Williams.

Kubica was called into the garage shortly after team mate George Russell suffered a wheel problem and crashed out of the race. Russell’s car had also been damaged at the previous race in Singapore one week earlier in a collision with Romain Grosjean.

Williams said the parts shortage had been “really challenging” for the team, who missed the start of testing after failing to complete it first FW42 chassis on time. “We’ve had a huge run of bad luck which, considering the year that we have had this year, is probably not wholly surprising,” she said.

“A lot of the race attrition that we had with the front wing damage in particular has been predominantly out of our control. We’ve had racing incidents with other drivers coming into the car and causing those issues. But it has put an enormous pressure on the team, clearly, particularly in operations and manufacturing.”

She praised the work the team had done in addressing the shortage of parts. “I have to say, the job that has been done at the factory in order to make sure that we are back at a level we need to be, they’ve done an amazing job.”

This was complicated further at Suzuka where Kubica crashed during the rescheduled Sunday morning qualifying session, leaving the team in a race against time to repair his car for the race.

“Everybody saw the job, together with the rest of the garage because everyone had to work together, to get Robert’s car ready for him to go out for the race on Sunday afternoon,” Williams continued. “How they did that is quite extraordinary.

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“But I think the way that everyone’s been doing at Williams over the past many months this year has been extraordinary, considering we were always on the back foot after testing, not getting the car to Barcelona in time and then getting race quantities up to the quality that we wanted. [That] has better marathon for everybody.”

Robert Kubica, Williams, Suzuka, 2019
Kubica’s Suzuka crash stretched the team further
Williams believes other teams would have been forced to pull cars out of races in similar circumstances.

“I think any team that was in the same position as us would have been in the same position, having to retire [from] races. Because trying to keep up with Formula 1 these days when there are so many race days in close succession and when you have incidents, it’s really difficult.

“We’re not, and I can’t imagine many teams are, in a position to be able to take many more than five front wings to a race. And you’re doing two or three of those over the course one and you’ve back to back the next weekend. What do you do?

!So this is not a situation that could be only something that Williams would find itself in. I’m sure other teams may have found themselves if they’d have had the misfortune that we did.

“This is not, and it shouldn’t be perceived as, a reflection on our ability to get race quantities to the track. It’s certainly not, because we do manage to do that. It was just a conspiracy of bad luck with a double-header and a load of incidents that were out of our control.”

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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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27 comments on ““Huge run of bad luck” caused Williams spare parts shortage”

  1. For their sake I hope next year they get their act together. This has been a series of embarrassing couple of seasons for Williams.

  2. Their bad luck is the lack of telabt in management and Claire is clueless in running the team

  3. Williams said the parts shortage had been “really challenging” for the team, who missed the start of testing after failing to complete it first FW34 chassis on time.

    Sorey, pedant alert: It’s the FW42. The FW34 was the 2012 car.

    1. And then I put a typo in my comment. No less than I deserve I guess…

  4. petebaldwin (@)
    13th November 2019, 9:15

    You learn the most when things go badly. To say it’s all down to bad luck shows she’s learnt nothing which is really disappointing to read. :(

  5. You shouldn’t have taken off the new front wing of Robert, so the accident wouldn’t have happened (Japan GP).
    Overall, this season is a disgrace to Williams’ team, starting with the situation at the beginning of the season, when there was no car for the first days of testing, until Robert’s withdrawal during the Russian GP and further problems with the lack of parts.
    Not to mention the unequal treatment of drivers…

    1. Is that why kubica crashed 3 times in Australia?

  6. This is a team strapped for cash and resources.

    I hazard a bet Mercedes wouldn’t run in to a parts shortage if for example Lewis and Bottas binned it two races in a row.

    1. Suffering Williams Fan
      13th November 2019, 13:01

      In fairness, didn’t Red Bull find themselves on the limit recently, and they’re hardly short of resources.

      1. Yup, they were fighting for a championship and were overnight freighting fresh latest front wings. But they had plenty of spares.

  7. I don’t see how singling out Kubica’s crash at Suzuka impacted on their parts shortage all season long, except they just want to rub it in as he complained of their parts shortage.

    1. Kubica crashed 3 times in Australia, after he also crashed in pre season testing.

  8. Obviously in the past we have had ‘preferred parts’ issues (Webber / Vettel Silverstone 2010 etc). But i’ve never know a team to just have a continuous parts issue go on for so long. Baku, Singapore & Suzuka apart, Russell & Kubica have stayed largely out of trouble (there isn’t a lot of cars to run into where they are on track). Surely the composites department at Gove isn’t much different to when Maldonaldo was playing ‘bumper cars’ not so long ago and they managed to replace everything then.

    It just doesn’t seem to add up.

  9. Pathetic, Claire. Just pathetic excuses. Sell the team while you can, cash in and go enjoy family life. Even embarrassment has a limit. You are way past the threshold.

    1. Agreed. Fair enough for trying but there’s a point when you just need to accept that you have done nothing for the team (really). I think she worries too much about ‘female power’. In every interview she brings it up. I dont want to sound sexist (because Jaimie is a good driver) but she only got Jaimie Chadwic on he team because she is a feminist. It will be good to see females in F1 but i don’t think Claire will never want to stand down. The reality is Williams need to have a complete restart. This will only happen with a new leader of aerodynamics and a new team principle.

      1. Isn’t frank team principle?

        Would you say that to sir frank?

        1. On the 2018 drive to survive, Claire introduced herself as team principle.

          And the comment about Frank doesn’t make sence as.Williams won multiple world championships under Franks controll. So….. i don’t understand where you are coming from with that when my first thing was clearly about Claire.

    2. @svianna The whole stream of responses from Claire are quite embarrassing.

      She suggests that Williams have only been prepared to do the minimum to go racing. If you read between the lines, it seems that they don’t have the money or have been unwilling to make enough front wings to go around.. so they’ve planned to have so few parts.  Its no big surprise that when one of their drivers has an incident, then they immediately flip to “there’s a parts shortage”. I dont think the Williams drivers have been in more incidents than any other team in 2019.

      Why is Claire even talking about the sad state of affairs in 2019? Shouldn’t she be talking about the steps they’re taking to rectify the situation in 2020?

      1. Kubica crashed 3 times in Australia and that was just the beginning.

  10. “Williams believes other teams would have been forced to pull cars out of races in similar circumstances.”

    Really? This is a low. You’re in last place & you think “other teams” would have done a worse job? Which teams are these? “Bob Jones Racing” in the Ingliston Formula Ford Championship (sorry made-up Bob)?

    Will be clogs to clogs in 3 generations…

  11. “I have to say, the job that has been done at the factory in order to make sure that we are back at a level we need to be, they’ve done an amazing job.”

    They have been embarrassingly poor the past couple of seasons, even more so this season , and Claire Williams talks about how they are back at the level they need to be. She’s not serious right ?

  12. Nice joke Claire :)

  13. If you need to rely on luck to have enough parts and spares for the whole season it is not about bad luck anymore. It is mismanagement and bad planning.

  14. @socksolid. well put.
    In the real world a manager who claimed a “conspiracy of bad luck” would be met with a dismissal notice.

  15. I suspect that Williams is just doing the minimum to pick up the income sharing check at the end of a season. Don’t they get an extra cut for their f1 legacy status too like McLaren? She wants to keep the legacy going but if all you have to do get the check is turn up and run half a race it’s rational to do that. Shameful, but rational.

  16. Who’s talking that garbage? A jurnalist who just started to work in a local newspaper’s sport section after switching from some lifestyle blog or other rubbish? Oh, no, sorry, that’s a team boss statement… give me a break.

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