The least Robert Kubica could have expected for when he made his comeback to Formula 1 at the start of this season, was a half decent car so that he could dial into the top flight seamlessly and get on with the business of his comeback.
But, after his eight-year lay-off from the top flight after his freak rally accident, the fairytale took a grim turn when, first, Williams were very late getting their 2019 car ready for the first test in Barcelona and then what they delivered was probably the worst car ever built by the illustrious Grove outfit.
It is clear that the delays and the team’s state of readiness (or lack thereof) for the new season were off-track due to what can only be attributed to grotesque mismanagement chief technical director Paddy Lowe who has since absconded from the mess he created, and whoever was managing the culprit.
Speaking to F1.com, Kubica recalled how the team did not have their car ready for the first preseason test in February, “Our realistic target was to have a smooth start to the season. It was important to have positive momentum so that we could focus on improving the car and try to put it into the best performance window.”
“Unfortunately, the situation at testing was a bit different. It was very disappointing. The first test in Barcelona was the most important test of my life, as I’m coming back after a long time.”
“It was my only chance to focus on myself, to get knowledge about the car and to prepare for my return. It put the team and myself in a complicated situation and I have had to use the first Grands Prix to recover and to understand the things I was supposed to understand in Barcelona.”
From that point on the team and their drivers were compromised, on the backfoot and looking to struggle all season, but Kubica is adamant that his return is worthwhile despite the handicap of around four seconds the Williams FW42 has to the pacesetters.
He explained, “This might sound strange, but I’m enjoying being back. It’s probably because I was away for a long time. I know we are struggling, and we are slow, and the races are difficult, but I enjoy it.
“I know where I have come from, what I have done to be here. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes, from difficult situations, you can still find the positive, although for most people it’s not an easy thing to do. I have to make sure that I improve as a driver.”
“I have learned a lot. Now I have to try to build up better performance in myself and I have to improve. It’s something I’m looking forward to.”
“It’s good to be involved. This is the other reason I am here. I’m happy to help, happy to get involved if I’m asked. But it’s also the right thing to let everyone get on with their own jobs and step back when need be. In the end, you have very little influence.”
“No one in the team is happy about the situation, and we would all like to see Williams further up the grid. It would be good to have less to worry about – that would make me feel far more comfortable and would allow me to focus more on performance. That’s really what we need.”
Despite the rocky road he is on, and the fact that Williams are in serious trouble on just about all fronts, Kubica remains upbeat, “I’m not frustrated, honestly. All of us are trying to do our best with what we have but when you see such a big offset in car behaviour and you know it’s limiting you a lot as a driver, it’s difficult.”
“On the other hand, it’s a good thing that this has happened now, and that we can try to understand what is going on at this stage of the season. We need to find a solution and hopefully, it will take less time than we think,” added the one-time Grand Prix winner.
Big Question: Is Robert deluded?