Kubica retired in Russia ‘to conserve parts’
In a year that’s hardly been jam-packed with good news stories for Williams, the Russian Grand Prix was a particularly painful affair for the Grove team, with George Russell retiring after suffering an undiagnosed issue on his FW42, before Robert Kubica was pulled from the race in a bid to conserve parts.
Having started P18, after taking on a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H ahead of the race, Kubica then pitted twice in two laps under the Safety Car brought out for Romain Grosjean’s race-ending shunt on Lap 1. That strategy allowed Williams to cycle through the hard tyre before immediately returning Kubica back onto the more optimal medium, with a view to getting him to the end of the race on that tyre.
Russia was tough and deeply frustrating for the whole team
But with Kubica failing to make progress as the race went on, and the team concerned about their spare parts situation ahead of Formula 1’s season-ending string of flyaway races, the decision was taken to withdraw the out-going Pole from the race on Lap 28, a lap after Russell had speared into the barriers after suffering an issue on his car.
“This weekend has been very disappointing,” said Kubica after the race. “You always have to try your best with what you have, and this is what I was trying to do. After George’s DNF, the team decided to stop my car, to take care of the parts that we have on the car. We are not in an easy situation and Japan is around the corner.”
The team’s Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson added: “[The Russian Grand Prix] was tough and deeply frustrating for the whole team. We opted to retire Robert soon [after George’s retirement] in order to conserve parts ahead of the intense flyaway races which end the season. It’s a very disappointing way to end two weeks on the road.”
The result marks the team’s first double-DNF of 2019, a season which has seen Williams score just one point when Kubica was classified 10th at the German Grand Prix following post-race penalties for Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.