Williams preseason woes are well documented, but the crisis is by no means over for the once mightiest Formula 1 team after they admitted they had run out of spare parts for their “tired” Fw42 and thus Robert Kubica’s season, and indeed the team’s, was further compromised
Williams Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe, responsible for the last two F1 projects at Grove, has failed the team miserably by delivering to Kubica and rookie teammate the 2019 car a week later than their rivals, as they try and surface from the muck caused the FW41 – the worst car ever built by the 16-times World Champions.
Speaking to reporters after the final day of testing on Friday at Circuit de Catalunya, Lowe explained, “We planned an ambitious programme to mirror George’s from [Thursday].”
“The long-running in the afternoon was unfortunately brought to a halt because a number of critical bodywork parts had reached a stage of degradation that meant that we were no longer learning useful information from the car nor indeed for Robert.”
Lowe added, “So we decided to switch our time to those final race procedural practices – starts, pit stops etc. – that we need to do before Australia.”
“Up until today we were on track to complete our originally intended mileage and to consume all available tyre sets. But today this car has become ultimately too tired to continue.”
“In the interest of saving our resources for the important racing in Australia, we felt it was right to change the plan. In general, the car is not at its best and this has affected our performance.”
In other words: “We ran out of spare parts…”
Meanwhile Kubica, at Williams thanks to Polish quasi-government backers PKN Orlen who pumped around $15-million into the team’s coffers for the privilege, has kept remarkably restained with regards to the crisis in the team.
After all, there is a great deal riding on this season for a driver who last lined-up on an F1 grid almost a decade ago and, sadly, this is the worst possible start to the next chapter in his exceptional and improbable F1 comeback.
Although Kubica did a qualy simulation run on Friday morning, his best time of 1:18.993 was a massive 2.7 seconds down on the top pace and over a second slower than their closest rivals.
The 34-year-old summed up his frustrating Friday in the car, “It’s a pity to end testing with a difficult day before we head to the first race. Out of the runs that we did, we managed to learn some things, but it hasn’t given me the level of confidence that I would have liked ahead of Australia.”
“It wasn’t the day that I was hoping for after the delay to the start of testing, but you have to take the positives out of these difficult situations,” added Kubica ahead of his 92nd Grand Prix start scheduled for 17 March at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.