Williams Racing’s Robert Kubica believes that gusty wind conditions throughout Friday practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone “has a larger impact” on the squad compared to its Formula 1 rivals.
With a dusting of light rain in the opening practice session accompanied by high winds around the former RAF base, conditions were tricky for the entire field throughout the day, with the likes of Kubica’s team-mate George Russell and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton either spinning off, or running wide onto the grass and dirt as a result of sudden gusts.
“The wind was quite gusty in places which has a big influence on the car,” explained Kubica who finished twentieth and ninteenth, respectively across the two sessions, with a best time of 1:29.935s in Free Practice 2.
“Although this is the same for everyone it probably has a larger impact on us as we have less grip, therefore more sensitive to these conditions. We will go through the data tonight and see what we can do.”
The thoughts of the one-time grand prix winner were echoed by Williams’ Senior Race Engineer, Dave Robson, who noted that the increased gusts “made testing difficult” throughout the day.
Despite the conditions, Robson was pleased with the way in which the team worked through its test programme, as it tries to recover from a poor start to the season, in which the FW42 has been rooted to the bottom, and detached from the field.
“We were able to evaluate some test items and begin to understand the tyres in preparation for qualifying and the race,” said Robson. “Both drivers had steady FP1 sessions despite the brief interruptions from the VSC and the light rain.”
While Kubica had a solid, if not spectacular day on a new track surface which makes the asphalt “a little spicer” and thus affecting car balance, Russell endured a premature end to the first day of running in his maiden home grand prix.
The gearbox of the current Formula 2 champion’s car conked out early in FP2, leaving the British driver unable to complete more than a handful of non-representative lap-times.
“It was amazing to drive around Silverstone in a Formula One car, this place is incredible, and the track is thrilling,” said Russell. “We had [the] gearbox issue in FP2, only completing about three proper laps. That has set us back a bit, but I am confident we can hit the ground running again tomorrow.It’s a track I know well, and I feel comfortable ahead of the weekend.“