This is the last episode of our F1 mid-term review. This time: Williams-Mercedes.
Williams, the former serial winner, finally reached the bottom. No hope for improvements, and no one to the rescue. As ABMS and F1 Insider learned: Earlier this year, former F1 pilot Alexander Wurz (45) refused to take over the role as new Team Principal from Paddy Lowe.
The former Williams consultant made a couple of demands that Williams didn’t want to accept. Hence, Claire Williams is still in office without any hopes of improvements.
Her father Sir Frank (77), who has been wheelchair-bound since an accident in 1986, is no longer able to run the business because of his age.
His former partner Patrick Head (73) has at least agreed to look after the team’s most pressing deficits and to look for a fresh start. His first order of business was to run more laps on Friday to collect more data and to better understand the completely messed up car, especially when it comes to aerodynamics.
Head’s reactivation out of retirement was necessary. The first half of the season was a complete disaster and the worst in the team’s history. Already in 2018, Williams finished last in the constructors’ championship. But in 2019 the gap to the rest of the field even grew.
F1 veteran Robert Kubica (34) got the only point (Hockenheim) for the team and that was only possible because the two Alfas were disqualified. If their protest is granted by the FIA in September the one lucky point might be gone.
The only positive Williams has to show for: The media presence is great thanks to the Polish superstar – Robert Kubica. The Pole, who almost lost his right arm in a 2011 rally accident, is polarizing the paddock and many F1 fans. His fate interests everyone and that, despite the fact that he is completely outpaced by his younger teammate George Russell.
Despite all this, Kubica genuinely enjoys his comeback:
“I have no regrets. I love the sport and I really wanted to get back to Formula 1. I achieved my dream. And it’s a hundred thousand times better to deal with problems here in Formula 1 than wasting time lying on the sofa at home and watching the races on television.”
According to Kubica, Williams seems to be chasing its own tail when it comes to problem-solving:
“We thought that through the new rules we could solve most of the problems we had last year. But this wasn’t the case. It started with the fact that the car was finished too late and therefore valuable testing time was lost. It is difficult to pin down the cause of why the car behaves so inconsistently. The tires? The aerodynamics? Something else? Right now we’re running in circles.”
But the Pole wanted to clarify one important point:
“My problems have nothing to do with my alleged handicap… Look at Monaco. There were many people who predicted ahead of this race that it would be my toughest Grand Prix. Because of the tight radius of some curves. But this wasn’t the case! I can assure you that if my right arm really limited me in doing my job, I would be the first to admit it.
“The problems are technical in nature, not physical. But I have to live with the prejudices that some people have.”
One thing is certain: His fan base is the most faithful and most loyal in the entire Formula 1. This, in turn, helps Williams enormously.
Unfortunately, not so much George Russell – on the contrary. Because the British Mercedes junior is so much faster than the older Kubica, he has to endure a social media “shitstorm” from Kubica’s followers. They suspect that Russell gets preferential treatment and better material even though Kubica already denied everything.
There is nothing else for Russell to do than to endure this phase:
“It hurts a bit that 50 percent of the comments are made by hateful Polish fans,”
“I can only hope that I, too, will have such passionate fans in the future.”
Russell vs. Kubica
Average faster in Q: -0.48s
Race comparison: 10-2
Average team points: Russell 0%, Kubica 100%
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.