Interview with Williams driver Robert Kubica

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Williams driver Robert Kubica in an interview
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You are making your comeback in Australia in 2019 as Formula 1- Driver. Which feeling dominates?

K ubica: I have come to the end of a long journey and it has a happy ending . That I even made it this far is my greatest achievement. A huge challenge is ahead of me. From now on the work really starts. And it will be for me.

You experienced Formula 1 from the viewer's perspective for a year. Does it hurt to be there but not drive?

Kubica: It's not easy for a racing driver. But I didn't have any pain from not racing. Sure, there were racetracks I was always good at. I already missed driving. And some new ones that I would like to drive, like Baku for example. Two things have helped me. First of all, I was happy to be part of the business in the paddock again. It's been a long time since I last lived in Formula One. Okay, in a different position. But if you have a passion for this sport, you still enjoy it. And then, I shouldn't say, our car wasn't exactly the best in the field. If the Williams had been a strong midfield car, I would probably have suffered more. But I don't want to complain. This year was a first step for me to get closer to my goal.

How do you look at a training session or a race from the garage?

Kubica: Not like someone on the sofa who can get an overall picture of the race. I had a strange experience there. In many races, I didn't even notice what was going on at the front. In Australia, after 40 laps, I found myself not even knowing who was in the lead. I mainly followed our cars. Since they were very rarely seen on the screen, I concentrated more on the lap times, the data, the radio messages and tried to visualize what our race looks like from them. A completely different view.

You already drove the car during the winter tests in Barcelona. Did you immediately sense that something was wrong?

Kubica: We started the year with high hopes, but after my attempts during theWinter tests felt that we could get a problem there. The engineers sometimes take a little longer to recognize or admit this from the data. That is normal. As a driver, you immediately feel certain deficits. Of course, you don't know why, but you know how the car reacts and how it should react. Even though I've been away for a long time, I still know what to ask of a car in order to drive it quickly and get the most out of the package.

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Robert Kubica is celebrating his comeback in 2019 as a regular driver in Formula 1.
How did the car develop?

Kubica: We have improved the car, but in the course of the development work we also discovered some other weak points that had nothing to do with the lap times. But from our position, it was really difficult to fill the gap. The others are also developing. At the beginning of the season, Sauber was still behind us, but they showed an incredible pace of development that they finally reached midfield. The most important thing for us was to learn from the mistakes of this year and to plan the development for 2019 in such a way that it doesn't happen again.

Were the problems with the car too big to solve in one season?

Kubica: We had a big problem that kept our car on track all year round and depressed the lap times. We solved some other things. But when there is a problem in a very complex area of ​​the car, that's what you focus on. It was a difficult season for Williams, but also an important one. We understood the mistakes and now have to learn from them and not repeat them.

What input did you give?

Kubica: I could have done more. But because we were so busy trying to solve the problem, I didn't really get a chance. Otherwise you might have trusted the driver's feeling more and reacted faster. I don't build the car but sometimes the driver sees a problem earlier than the bestEngineer in the world. Nevertheless, we made good progress, especially in the second half of the season, especially in the simulator. We still had correlation problems at the beginning of the season. These discrepancies between the tools and reality ultimately led to the car being misjudged. We really thought we had a good car. The simulator is fed with data that comes from other departments. It took time to sort that out. If Williams develops even more in this direction, it can become an important tool.

Why didn't you race in other series while working at Williams?

Kubica: I wanted to really experience my job at Williams. And that filled me up a lot. There were phases this year when I was at home for a day. You can't go for a race in between. I wanted to focus on Williams this year. It was a good opportunity for me to learn what is important in modern Formula 1. The sport is very different today than it was when I was still driving. Tire management and fuel saving are an important part of today's races. If I hadn't done it this year, I wouldn't know today. That was also my goal: to bring myself up to date.

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