Kubica: Williams F1 team removed Suzuka wing for "strange reasons"

Robert Kubica has slammed the Williams Formula 1 team for removing its upgraded front wing from his car at the Japanese Grand Prix, saying it 'crossed boundaries' for "strange reasons"

Kubica: Williams F1 team removed Suzuka wing for "strange reasons"

Both Kubica and team-mate George Russell had turns running the sole example of Williams's upgraded front wing during opening Suzuka practice on Friday.

Kubica was more positive about it, and it was kept on his car for second practice.

He said his expectation was that he would keep the wing for delayed qualifying on Sunday morning and then the race, but Williams decided not to run it on either car.

Kubica crashed heavily on his out-lap at the start of qualifying and finished 19th and last in the race having started from the pitlane in a new chassis.

"Friday was very good," Kubica told Polish television. "First time for a very long time.

"We changed the front wing. It wasn't supposed to be better and on the second car it did not give any advantage or was even worse. But my car felt a lot better.

"However, for strange reasons, the wing was taken from my car this morning before qualifying.

"I think there was just too much time to think about it on Saturday...

"The typhoon passed, but I think the decision was not related to the track here, but more so to other reasons or choices.

"This morning, however, gave me a lot to think about. I knew some things, but this morning some boundaries were probably crossed."

When Kubica's comments were put to Williams, it said there had never been any intention to race with the wing on either car in Japan.

"As always, we discuss the most effective strategy ahead of each race weekend but make adjustments where necessary," said a team statement issued to Autosport.

"Our new front wing was always intended as a test item for this event, with a view to running in a race at a future date.

"With the potential impact of Typhoon Hagibis forcing the cancellation of all running on Saturday, combined with the inclement wind conditions today, the team made the decision not to risk running the new front wing today and potentially suffering damage before we had conducted further testing in Mexico.

"Given the incidents in qualifying, this proved to be the correct decision."

The Japan wing controversy follows Williams retiring Kubica's car during the Russian GP as a precaution because it was short of parts following Russell's pair of incidents with other cars in Singapore and wheel-related crash at Sochi.

The team's Polish sponsor PKN Orlen publicly questioned that decision and Kubica also hinted at frustration over it at the start of the Japanese GP weekend.

Kubica argued that the Suzuka wing decision was made "without even letting me know and I think this is not the right way".

He underlined that he felt the wing had been transformative for him, in a season when he was constantly struggled to find affinity with the Williams chassis.

"I was hoping after the really disappointing Russia we would be here trying to do our best and this is what we tried to do on Friday," said Kubica.

"Actually on Friday I ended up with quite good feelings but my feelings were probably too good.

"Conditions were different but on Friday something happened which gave me quite a lot of confidence and improved my feeling in the car.

"We agreed on something and then on Sunday morning things changed for whatever reason.

"I think it was not a decision of people who are here.

"I don't want to go into the details too much but after Russia where we were disappointed overall when you have a driver who says 'for the first time for a very long time I can drive the car properly and I'm actually properly exploring the car', this is what every team would look to have.

"But for whatever reason..."

He praised his mechanics for the Sunday rebuild - as he put the crash down to "a misevaluation and a lack of attention" having put a wheel on the grass exiting the last corner.

"The guys did an amazing job, not for the first time this year, and it's really amazing what they're doing with what we have," Kubica added.

"It's a difficult period. We all try to do our best and it's amazing how in such a difficult year they are still not giving up, as we all try not to."

Kubica has already announced that he will part with Williams at the end of the season and made a point in his Polish TV interview of noting how many more sessions he would drive the car for across the remaining four GPs.

"Twenty sessions left until the end of the year," he said.

"Let's hope that some things will be solved, although as I say: this morning just before qualifying allowed me to understand a lot."

shares
comments
No penalties for "stupid" Japanese GP collision between Gasly/Perez
Previous article

No penalties for "stupid" Japanese GP collision between Gasly/Perez

Next article

Renault ECU/steering wheels sealed as Racing Point protest goes ahead

Renault ECU/steering wheels sealed as Racing Point protest goes ahead
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022