While Robert Kubica was making all the headlines in Japan (the Williams-related headlines anyway) with his ‘wing-gate’ (not to be confused with ‘Wingate’, the town in County Durham!) outburst, accusing his team of ‘crossing boundaries’ & fiendishly undermining him by doing exactly what they said they were going to do days before, George Russell was quietly having a fairly torrid afternoon of his own, as a brakes issue threatened to force him into his third retirement in four races.
“I don’t know where to start. We cannot continue with these brakes. I was getting ready to retire at one point, they are that bad.” Russell said on team radio after finishing 18th in the Japanese Grand Prix.
“We really, really need to sort this out” he continued.
The brakes issue is the latest in a long line of problems to afflict the Williams F1 team in a challenging season where a single point has been their reward – the lowest points tally in their entire illustrious 42 year history.
Earlier in the weekend Kubica was unusually upbeat about the performance of the new front wing, designed primarily to be used next season saying it could be the key to ‘unlock the potential’ of next year’s car.
That positivity came to an abrupt halt when it came to qualifying and the wing was put back in its box and Kubica found himself in the wall before completing a single lap.
The focus on long term development as this approach demonstrates, however, means that Williams will most likely be treading water until the season’s end, suggesting that there’s not going to be a sudden upturn in fortunes for the Grove team in the remaining four races of 2019.
One can only hope that the scarcity of parts and the team’s need to eke every last mile out of the bits they do have doesn’t result in more mechanical failures.