F1 Summer Break Review: ROKiT Williams Racing
Williams Racing FW42 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

F1 Summer Break Review: ROKiT Williams Racing

A major rethink is needed at Williams, with the 2019 season already a write-off after just one-point from 12 races.

matthewwatkinson
Matthew Watkinson

From day one of pre-season testing, the signs for one of the world’s most prestigious Formula 1 teams were dire. The team were absent from testing for the first time in their history as their car wasn’t ready, and that lack of readiness for the upcoming season has proved detrimental to what has been the worst start to a season in the history of the team.

Williams’ have become accustomed to rounding off the rear of the field, with both cars as far as two laps behind in Australia, a truly shambolic first half to the season for a team that are in desperate need of a miraculous recovery as the second half to the season is just around the corner.

Though there seems to be very few positives, the recent upgrades to the FW42 have seen minor improvements for Claire Williams’ team, having reduced the gap to the midfield pack ahead with Robert Kubica clinching the teams’ singular point so far this term after the mayhem in Germany.

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Another highlight of the season so far was George Russell’s emphatic qualifying performance in Hungary which lifted Williams to the second phase of qualifying for the first time this season and the Brit saw this as a sign of great progress for the team.

“Yeah it’s unbelievable,” said Russell. “Almost lost for words. Prior to this weekend I don’t think we could’ve ever dreamed of qualifying off the back row at any point on merit and I think we’ve really turned the page this weekend – understanding the tyres, understanding the car and the thing came alive.”

“I think it shows everything the team have done over the last year has almost been worth it. We have much more to come for later in the year so it’s refreshing to know that the work we’ve done has actually been worth it.”

Driver standings:

Robert Kubica: 19th (1pt)

George Russell: 20th (0pts)

Constructor standings: 10th (1pt)

Russell the shining light

Russell graduated from Formula 2 to take his seat in the Williams, after being crowned F2 champion last term. The Brit was one of several rookies promoted to the big-time alongside McLaren’s Lando Norris and newly appointed Red Bull driver Alexander Albon.

In comparison, Russell’s ability cannot be questioned having previously won titles at every level he has participated in. However, having been plagued with driving Williams’ FW42 he has struggled to make an impact, unlike good friends Norris and Albon whose fortunes have been much more fruitful so far this term.

Russell has been an ever-growing presence in the forefront of car development and having had the better of his teammate on nine out of 12 occasions, he is unlucky to find himself behind Kubica in the standings trailing by one point.

Kubica return ‘shadowed’ by Williams’ struggles

The Polish driver returned to F1 this season after a rally crash in 2011 led to the partial amputation of his arm, in what is undoubtedly one motorsport’s greatest comebacks.

But the fairy-tale story ends there for Kubica after a rotten start to the season at the back of the grid has seemingly seen him fall behind Russell as the teams’ number two driver, despite clinching Williams’ only point of the season in Germany.

In an interview with Autosport, Kubica said, “I would be more happy if I was fighting higher up and having less problems.

“In these last few months, unfortunately this difficult situation puts a shadow on what I achieved and how big (an) achievement it was for me to be back here,” he added after returning to F1 where prior to the rally crash he was set to be in pole position to land a Ferrari drive in 2012.

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