Testing – Williams’ reserve driver Robert Kubica said that his day of testing at the Hungaroring concluded with runs to help the team better understand their 2018 car.
Williams have struggled their way through the season so far, with an unpredictable car suffering from poor balance and stability throughout the 12 rounds so far. While Hockenheim and Hungaroring showed mild signs of improvement for the beleaguered team, they are still some way off consistent points finishes.
Their driver line-up, through no fault of their own, haven’t been able to provide much in the way of help in terms of improving the car. Lance Stroll & Sergey Sirotkin are both rookie drivers, and much has been made of the decision to keep the far more experienced Robert Kubica out of a race cockpit in 2018. However, the popular Polish driver has carried out testing for Williams, as well as taking part in a couple of FP1 sessions this year. It was at this test in Budapest last year where Kubica tested extensively for the Renault team as he chased an F1 comeback, ultimately ending up with Williams.
Kubica was at the wheel of the FW41 on Wednesday, taking over from Oliver Rowland on the first day. His best lap time was 1:18.451, set on the UltraSoft tyres, almost three seconds off the pace setting time set by George Russell for Mercedes. Interestingly, this was a quicker time than any managed by either race driver over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend on the same tyre compound (although qualifying was rain affected).
Completing 103 laps in total, Kubica said: “It was a good day. We had a mixed programme with some data collection for next year and trying to understand our car better for 2018. We also ran a few runs with the current car specification to help with the rest of the season. We have a lot of data to go through and analyse but it was a good test to end on before the summer break.”
The testing of the current car spec was certainly eye-catching, as Williams sent the car out covered in various different shades of flow-vis paint as they try to figure out the way the car responds to airflow. Head of Performance Engineering, Rob Smedley, explained some of what the team were aiming to achieve over the test, having been one of three teams to extensively test the 2019 spec front wing:
“We have ended what has been a successful test. We came here to predominately concentrate on 2019 aero specification and we have carried out every single item on the test programme regarding 2019 that we set out to, and some more. The engineering team and mechanics couldn’t have worked any harder and have done a great job. We need to go away now and use all the data to help us with correlation for 2019 regulations.”
“Additionally, we had a look at the remainder of the season, some set up, some tyre preparation work and we have some interesting directions from there. Robert set some good lap times considering the tyres we gave him and the time in the car. Overall, it’s a good way to go into the summer break for the team.”