Robert Kubica believes he is nothing more than a ‘passenger’ until Williams improve a host of issues with the FW42.
The Polish driver has been struggling with his FW42’s handling since the season began – he would strike a kerb in first practice for the Australian GP and damage the floor.
To make matters worse, Kubica’s repaired car continued to display different aero data to that of his team-mate George Russell, even though both drivers ran the same set-up in Bahrain.
Kubica fell away drastically during his second stint at Sakhir as his tyres degraded, having got ahead of Russell in the early stages.
The 34-year-old would end the race two laps down in P16 and struggles to see much improvement in the near future.
“When there was more driver-ability I think I did well,” he told Motorsport.com.
“I’ve been eight years no driving, so I think I took good decisions.
“Some things were positive, but it’s extremely difficult. Everything is building up – all the difficulties.
“Australia by running over one kerb where everybody took it, I lost pieces of the car. In Bahrain, I stay out of the kerbs. The time in qualifying I use them, another bit flew away.
“And then in the race, actually I realised I’m not using them, or I’m using them only because I was put there, I don’t use them as a track.
“If you start tightening up corners, you put more load on the tyres. It is a complicated situation.
“I was so slow in some corners to try to protect the rear tyres, but I was still sliding and still overheating them.
“There will be a point hopefully one day, when all these limitations, I can forget about it, the car will be more solid, stay all together and it will become more fun as well.
“Until now it’s like I have to make sure I actually turn into the corner and don’t spin, and then this is my driving – everything focused on this.
“We need to find out what’s going on because I have no margin and I have no window in the car where actually I can drive it. I am a passenger.”
— ROKiT WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) April 1, 2019
Williams are still short of spare parts after the late release of the FW42 which impacted upon their testing schedule. Kubica believes this also is a limitation to the progress the team can make.
“You can do whatever you want – you can put rear tyres on the front! It will be dominated by the characteristics we are having,” added Kubica.
“I can only try to help it with the tools – I tried to do everything with the diff settings, with the settings you have on the steering wheel – but it’s so big it’s impossible to turn it around.
“It [the wind] makes stability of the car even worse and I have no stability already, so this exaggerated [the problem].
“We need a solution, and this will hopefully take less time than I think.”
Enjoyed that – some good battles out there with Robert 👊
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) March 31, 2019
Russell, while also well aware of the issues Williams are faced with, believes he had the pace in Bahrain to compete and has urged the team to keep working so they can capitalise on mistakes.
“I went to the outside of Vettel and Stroll overtook me on the inside. Without that, I think I could have held Stroll off. He was definitely quicker but we had enough pace to hold him off.
“I think [Carlos] Sainz was struggling to get past me for five or six laps before and he did an additional pit stop which maybe in hindsight was better.
“But small signs that if we optimise it slightly more we can pick up from people’s mistakes and we need to capitalise on that.”