Williams driver Robert Kubica is heartened that his Williams FW42, with which both he and team-mate George Russell have struggled in the opening rounds of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, feels different in China.
With the Williams team focussing all their efforts on eking every bit of potential out of a car they’ve described as ‘more driveable’ than its predecessor, it is hoped that the team’s delayed start to the season rather than an inherently slow car is the cause of their poor performances in 2019 thus far and that they can steadily move towards the midfield pack.
“The car feels a bit different to [the] last two weekends, so that’s a good sign” said Kubica.
“The balance is quite different to the previous two events.”
Although the Williams duo of Kubica and team-mate George Russell are still quite adrift at the back of the grid, and unlikely to be anything but come Sunday afternoon in China George Russell can too see positive signs in the car’s progress.
“The long run pace was fairly decent compared to Racing Point. We definitely as a team seem closer, so again that’s positive and all going in the right direction.” Russell is quoted as saying in Autosport.
“I think we probably didn’t optimise it [the car] as much as everybody else in the previous two races.
“So I think [in China] we are just getting more out of it.”
Williams again finished both FP1 and FP2 for the Chinese Grand Prix in last and second last (of those drivers who set a time), but Kubica outpaced his younger team-mate for the first time in any session of 2019.
This can only give the Pole heart after a disappointing start to a pivotal season in his F1 career.
George Russell is highly rated by many people in the Grand Prix paddock and is widely expected to move to World Champions Mercedes in the near future.
To demonstrate he’s worthy of such a drive, he needs to convincingly beat Kubica over the course of a season.
If Kubica can match Russell, it could be the incentive he and Williams (and Kubica’s financial backers!) need to continue their partnership beyond 2019.