Robert Kubica believes that the Williams Racing Formula 1 squad “cannot target much more” from its FW42 package at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after a difficult Friday left the team rooted to the bottom of the timing screens.
Kubica, who is returning to a full-time race seat in F1 for the first time since 2010 after recovering from severe injuries sustained in a February 2011 rally accident, said after pre-season testing that he knew “20%” of what he needed before the race in Melbourne, following a troubled test period for Williams, where it missed two full days of running after the car was not ready in time.
Testing indicated that Williams was some way off the pace of the midfield runners, leading to technical director Paddy Lowe taking a leave of absence from the nine-time constructors’ champions, citing “personal reasons.” In Friday’s two 90-minute practice sessions, Kubica and team-mate, reigning Formula 2 champion, George Russell, were some way off the pace, around four seconds slower than pace-setter, Lewis Hamilton.
“This morning was quite difficult for us with much less grip from the track,” said Kubica who finished 19th and 20th, respectively in the two sessions.
“We struggled quite a lot with general grip; this afternoon the feeling was slightly better as conditions improved and also the temperatures helped us a bit.
“We have to try to get the maximum from what we have and it depends what that maximum will be. I think we cannot target much more so the realistic aim is to extract the maximum from what we have.”
After a difficult 2018, where Williams finished last in the constructors’ for the first time in its history, with just seven points, the FW42 was launched with hopes of allowing the team to fight for points on a more regular basis.
However, when it did appear in testing, the car looked basic compared to some of its more immediate rivals, with Williams being forced into tweaking aspects of its front suspension and mirrors to satisfy the FIA legality criteria.