Robert Kubica revealed in a recent interview how Williams really believed they had good car before testing began in February, but soon the drivers realised they had a dreadful car but no one would believe them.
However, neither the Pole or his young teammates Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were not believed by those responsible who took their time to realise that the FW41 was the worst Formula 1 car the team has ever built.
Kubica, who next year with Williams returns to Formula 1 after an eight-year absence, revealed to Auto Motor und Sport, “We really thought we had a good car according to data from the simulator and the various departments.”
The Pole then inadvertently (or not) revealed how the powers that be at first did not believe the drivers’ feedback and thus were slow to react, “Maybe they should have listened to the drivers and reacted faster.”
“I don’t build the car but sometimes the driver becomes aware of a problem earlier than the best engineer in the world. At the beginning of the season we still had correlation problems. In the end these deviations between tools and reality led to the misjudgment with the car.”
“Nevertheless, we made good progress in the second half of the season, especially in the simulator.”
Early on during the first Barcelona test it became apparent that there were serious issues with first chassis built under technical chief Paddy Lowe’s watch at Grove.
Although the engineers were initially in denial, eventually it became undeniable that they had messed up their sums. The axe was wielded and heads rolled as has been well documented. Lowe survived the culling and we now await the FW42 from him and his tech team.
Kubica recalled, “We started the year with high hopes, but after driving it during the winter tests I felt that we could get a problem there. Engineers sometimes take a little longer to realise the problems. That is normal.”
“As a driver, you immediately feel certain deficits. Although I’ve been away for a long time, I still know what I need to charge for a car to go fast and get the most out of the package.”
Williams, with 16 titles an 114 victories on their impressive Formula 1 resume, were last in the 2018 constructors’ championship as they never got to the bottom of the problems the car had which were clearly terminal from very early on.
“We improved the car,” explained Kubica. “But in the course of development work we also discovered some other weak spots that had nothing to do with the lap times, but from our position, it was really difficult to close the gap.”
“The others also continued to develop. Sauber were behind us at the start of the season but they had an incredible pace of development, eventually making it into the midfield.”
“It was a difficult season for Williams, but also an important one. We have understood the mistakes and now have to learn from them and not repeat them. We need to lay down the development for 2019 so that it does not happen again” added Kubica who will line-up for his 92 grand prix start in Melbourne next year.
Big Question: Did Williams ignore the essentials by ignoring their drivers’ feedback?