Robert Kubica says he’s had a maximum of 12 laps to get a proper feel for the Williams 2019 Formula 1 car across the entire first pre-season test after the team’s delays on hitting the track.

The Polish driver completes his F1 comeback story this year racing for Williams, having last competed in 2010 before a horrific rallying crash forced him out of the sport, but had to wait until the morning of the fourth and final day of the first pre-season test to drive the FW42 following lengthy delays for the British squad.

Having been a keen onlooker as teammate George Russell debuted the F1 car when the team finally got testing underway during day three’s afternoon session, Kubica completed 48 laps in the morning session on day four before handing the FW42 back to Russell this afternoon.

The former F1 race winner concedes about 12 of his 48 laps were genuine running with the rest taken up with shakedown work and parts checks but is eager to make up for lost time in next week’s second test.

“You get a feeling but I think it’s too early to talk about feelings. We will see next week. For us it was kind of a shakedown today, for me at least,” Kubica said. “I have maybe done 12 laps where I could feel the car, where I could drive.

“The rest was gathering data and signing off tests for engineering departments, so we’ll see.”

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Kubica’s fastest lap of 1m 21.542s, almost four seconds slower than timesheet-topper Alexander Albon for Toro Rosso, and feels there is significant gains to come but is purely focusing on development work before worrying about outright pace.

“It’s easy to gain four seconds when you are eight seconds off. It’s not like we will be gaining four seconds every day,” he said. “That would be amazing.

“We cannot look at [the times] but I have to say when I saw the first couple of runs of other people on day one, I was impressed.”

Reflecting on Williams’ wider troubles, Kubica accepts the situation is out of his control but is eager to focus on the maximising the four days of track action available in the second test as its final opportunity before the 2019 season opener in Australia.

“Well it is tough and not tough. For sure it’s not ideal but that’s the situation and finally we’ve got the car, so in the end the guys in the team did a good job to build it probably in five times shorter time than it should be,” he said.

“There is the reason why you are building up the car in five days and not in one day, so it’s not that everybody is testing from day one just for fun. There are reasons why people are testing but the situation is like this, we have to concentrate on what we have, what the future will be and not what’s in the past.

“Hopefully we won’t be penalised for the delays in the first races, but everybody has their own job in the team so I have to concentrate on my one. Finally I got the car.

“Today I couldn’t really concentrate on driving and exploring the car, I had to do more of gathering data, signing off stuff and trying to put mileage on the car. It was not a really smooth morning but it was as usual as you could expect on day one of a new car.”



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