Robert Kubica has said that he feels ‘no magic’ after another weekend of struggles at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Williams driver could have been referring to the ‘magic’ quick fix he and Williams desperately seek to the well publicised issues with their FW42 that have left them adrift at the back of the field, unable to make any impression on the teams ahead of them.
He could also have been talking about a Canadian Grand Prix weekend where he complained of a lack of grip that compromised any opportunity he might have had of overturning his unenviable record of never having beaten his team-mate George Russell in either qualifying or a race in 2019.
“Difficult race, a much more difficult day than Saturday, and that was difficult. The car was sliding a lot during qualifying on the softest tyres and low fuel so during the race, it felt awful.” Kubica said after the race.
“[It was] More like rally driving than racing and, unfortunately, that doesn’t work in Formula 1. It was really tough to keep it on track, even though I was going very slow so we have to understand that.”
However, in talking about a ‘lack of magic’ Kubica could easily be talking about his return to Grand Prix racing after a hiatus of eight years as a result of the injuries he sustained in a rally crash in Andorra in 2011.
If you’d have said to Kubica ahead of him agreeing a deal with Williams to drive in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship that after seven races he’d be yet to finish off the bottom in any meaningful session and that he’d have been comfortably outpaced by his rookie team-mate everywhere he might have given the whole comeback thing a bit more thought.
The Latifi Test
In FP1 for the Canadian Grand Prix and amid claims of anomalies between Williams’ two cars, and of favouritism towards Russell shown by the Williams team in terms of strategy and equipment (both completely unfounded BTW), something noteworthy happened.
It was the first session that a third driver took to the track in a Williams in 2019. Reserve driver Nicholas Latifi drove Kubica’s car in one of his contracted outings for the season.
Due to the lack of pack of this year’s Williams, its unfair to judge either driver on how he’s performing relative to the other 18 cars, and so Latifi’s participation is the first opportunity for us to gauge how either Williams driver is performing this year.
And although slower than Russell, he proved to be closer to the Briton than Kubica would be at any point for the rest of the weekend. (0.21 seconds vs Kubica’s 0.25s in FP2, 0.46s in FP3 and 0.77s in qualifying).
This is damning for the veteran of 83 Grand Prix, and it could signal the beginning of the end of Kubica’s Grand Prix career.