George Russell, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2019

No difference between Williams’ three chassis – Russell

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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George Russell says he can’t detect any differences between Williams’ three FW42 chassis despite team mate Robert Kubica reporting inconsistencies between them.

Kubica said the pair were “driving two different cars on the same set-up” following the season-opening race in Australia. However team principal Claire Williams said the team hasn’t been able to detect an inconsistency between them.

Following his collision with a loose drain cover in Azerbaijan, Russell has tried all three of the chassis Williams built up. “I was only meant to have run [number] two but ended up running all three,” he explained.

Asked by RaceFans whether all three felt the same he said “yes – there’s no reason for them not to be.”

Russell began the season in chassis number two then switched to chassis three, the team’s spare, in Baku. At the last round in Spain he took over chassis number one which Kubica used in the first four races. He expects to be reunited with his repaired number two chassis at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Williams were closer to their rivals in qualifying at the last race. Both drivers were within six-tenths of a second of Lance Stroll, the next-slowest driver. However their performance on Sunday was less good, Russell admitted.

“To be honest, in Spain the race pace was much worse than anticipated,” he said. “Every weekend is throwing up different challenges and different performance.

“In Barcelona we were much closer in qualifying than expected and further away in the race than expected. So who knows what Monaco will bring. It looks like it could be wet on Saturday so who knows.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “No difference between Williams’ three chassis – Russell”

  1. Yes, there’s no reason for them not to be

    that doesn’t quite say there isn’t a difference though, just that he sticks with the team in not knowing of any mechanism to how they’d get to be different. And with his driving, that he hasn’t felt a clear difference either, most likely (but, the quotes do not seem to say exactly that).

    So, I guess that’s the team line and Russell sees no reason to differ from that – one could think that maybe Kubica is more sensitive, part of what makes him special, or that he’s making excuses.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      23rd May 2019, 8:01

      ?? @bosber
      He answers clearly ‘yes’ if asked if all three feel the same!
      So you think that there is a difference which the driver cannot feel? Might be right – there might be undetectable differences – but is it relevant to the racing?
      And I see no reason or proof why he would be lying and toeing the company line; it might simply be that they agree.

      1. Well @coldfly, if his actual quote is the full quote, he seems to say he does not expect them to be different, feel different, and didn’t feel a difference – again, Kubica’s fans regularly say he’s special in setup etc. so maybe he feels something (part experience?) Russell does not.

        I didn’t say (or want to suggest) Russell is lying, I suggested that both Russell and the team do not believe there is a reason to credit Kubica’s feeling here, and given their results so far, I can understand that quite well, as indeed it didn’t hamper Russell in getting significantly better results than his teammate.

    2. @bosyber To be clear, in addition to that quote Russell was also asked if he felt there was any difference between the chassis and he said there wasn’t, which is why the introduction is worded the way it is.

      1. @keithcollantine
        Do you know if Kubica has made any comment regarding this since Spain? He has now driven chassis 1 and 3, so it would be interesting if he still stands by his opinion that chassis 1 is bad, or if chassis 3 is just the same.
        Cheers

      2. @keithcollantine, well that’s good to know.

  2. Lee H (@stopitrawr)
    23rd May 2019, 7:40

    What’s that honking sound?

    That’s the sound of the bus Russell just threw Kubica under.

    Ouch.

  3. Driver sensitivity is a difficult problem, hard to diagnose.

    I recently was in such a situation, our backup family car had something wrong with it. In our entire wider family only I seemed to care about it, everyone else was telling me how it’s all ok, including the mechanic.

    But then it was found rear brake calipers were partially rusty and were braking a little in the corners, providing for very slightly unstable car on corner entry.

    Caliper change later everything is fine with the car. Nobody notices the difference except me and the mechanic once he inspected the caliper.

    Kubica might be in the same boat, something very small is wrong with the car, maybe some twisting in the chassis, some oscillation, something is slightly off. And because the car is overall very slow, he contributes that tiny thing to that big pace loss that Williams has around every track.

    In reality the car is slow, but Kubica exaggerates the issue in his mind, and then is unable to push the car as much as he would like, due to the car not giving him enough assurance.

    1. Yep, well explained @jureo – that might be what’s going on. Nothing that in really explains their lack of pace, or much of Kubica’s lack of pace compared to his teammate (though, ‘driver confidence’ as you say), so it might indeed not matter on the whole for the team, but it does for him.

    2. ColdFly (@)
      23rd May 2019, 9:33

      the car is slow, but Kubica exaggerates the issue in his mind, and then is unable to push the car as much as he would like, due to the car not giving him enough assurance.

      That could very well be it, @jureo.
      I’d let Kubica pick his preferred chassis and Russel gets his randomly; all happy.

      1. I’d let Kubica pick his preferred chassis and Russel gets his randomly; all happy.

        @coldfly – that’s a nice solution.

    3. I too have made the mistake of putting too much faith in mechanics. There are some who are great, but the majority just follow instructions and have the same sensitivity to the rest of us.

      In my (since sold) car there was an issue I could feel from the front right. Felt like something was uneven and rubbing, causing an oscillating vibration when turning left. I could only notice it at low speeds (40-70kph, faster it was difficult to detect over road noise), after the car had been running for a while and things warmed up.

      Of course the mechanics didn’t have time, or the appropriate roads with long curving left turns which could be taken at those speeds nearby.

      Never worked it out, no one else could feel it; and I ultimately sold the car because it drove me nuts.

  4. I see no point in ANY article about Williams at this stage of the year, especially about comparing cars or drivers.

    It’s like dropping two potatoes into a boiling soup, and claiming the one that comes to the surface first is the faster one.

    I’d wait 10 more races and see if the car is stable enough to behave predictably over couple of turns at least, and then we can discuss about the differences between the cars or the drivers.

    And I wrote that with Williams-branded cup of coffee next to me, so this is not a negative comment against the team, but (hopefully) realistic one.

  5. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    23rd May 2019, 8:50

    There’s no need to say anything more on the matter. Kubica too drove Russel’s chassis and still lagged behind, so…

  6. The situation is looking more and more grim for Kubica. The odds of the story becoming a fairytale were already slim at the beginning of the season but it’s turning into a tragicomedy now. Feel for him.

    1. Full credit to Robert for managing to return to F1 but maybe the problem here is actually Robert himself … is he really still up to the job??

  7. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    23rd May 2019, 9:05

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZjTGSUWgtc

    This video shows the difference on T9 . Kubica doesn’t seem to have the same confidence on the car that Russel has.

  8. There are many variables beside the chassis. I don’t know what the acceptable tolerances were in the construction of the chassis’, but I suspect the differences would have been deemed insignificant compared to the rest of the car. Really, the biggest issue isn’t the chassis, but the ground effects and downforce, and until those are fixed differences in chassis are really a minor detail.

  9. @jureo Good explanation, thanks, it is though pointless in comparing the 2 Williams drivers to each other or anyone else as the car is so slow it would never be able to be an accurate comparison, for all we know GR could be flying and Kubica driving well, sadly there is no way to know until they are in a car which can be compared to other teams. It is with a heavy heart I say that Williams are in for years of pain here.

  10. Kubica never said that the chassis is the problem. It was Mark Hughes assumption made in his article. This is the right quote of Kubica “driving two different cars on the same set-up”, he also said that the difference can be seen on telemetry. He was hoping that on tests in Bahrain Russell while driving his car will see the difference in cars. On those tests Russell was driving Kubica’s car but with his floor. Kubica then commented someone forgot to put his floor. At first Russell confirmed the difference in cars after Bahrain. Williams wanted to cut short this bad looking topic and we have seen suddenly massive talk about chassis, cars and even sensor problem (LOL) generally saying the cars were and are the same. And now even here we can read only about chassis problem like only chassis is on track. My assumption is that Williams has problems with parts production and only one car can be fully supplied with it. Don’t forget late car on Barcelona tests, then tests were cut short for Kubica because of parts life came to end. Furthermore at next tests Kubica’s car was used for testing.

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