Williams have issued a more in-depth explanation behind the reason for Robert Kubica’s retirement from the Russian Grand Prix last weekend.
Williams have moved to explain why they withdrew Robert Kubica from last weekend’s Russian GP at the Sochi Autodrom. Halfway through the race, Kubica came into the pits and clambered out of his FW42 to retire. There was no apparent issue with his car up until that moment, and it happened moments after teammate George Russell suffered a mechanical problem on track and had a minor collision with the barriers lining the track.
It was initially thought that Williams may have withdrawn Kubica on safety grounds but the team’s explanation that evening was that they withdrew him out of a desire to ‘conserve parts’ in light of them not being in points contention. This met with backlash from fans online and also caused team sponsor PKN Orlen to raise their eyebrows. The Polish oil and petroleum company, personal backers of Kubica, then said they wanted a full explanation from Williams and, based on the answers, might have cause to seek legal action based on contract obligations.
As a result, Williams issued a statement on Thursday night to explain why they withdrew Kubica from the race.
‘We found an issue with the wheel nut retainer on George’s car, which led to the front-right wheel not sitting perfectly.” said Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer. “This caused a lock-up under braking. The design is very mature and well-proven. The remaining inventory will be inspected thoroughly, and we do not anticipate a repeat of the issue.”
“Unfortunately, we were forced to retire Robert’s car due to the amount of accident damage we sustained in the Singapore-Russia back-to-back races in order to protect ourselves going into the next events. The team has worked extremely hard to ensure race quantities have improved ahead of Japan and the final races.”
FormulaSpy has reached out to PKN Orlen for comment in the wake of Williams’ explanation.