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Kubica: German GP visibility worse than night rallies in fog

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Kubica: German GP visibility worse than night rallies in fog
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Co-author: James Roberts
Jul 30, 2019, 1:16 PM

Williams driver Robert Kubica said the 2019 German Grand Prix provided him with a stark reminder of how bad visibility is during wet Formula 1 races.

Last weekend at Hockenheim was his first wet-weather F1 start in nine years and he likened the experience to his sojourn in rallying.

“I forgot how much spray there is and how visibility is poor,” said Kubica, who earned Williams' first point of the season after penalties for the two Alfa Romeo cars. 

“I did night stages in rally cars with fog. And when you’re switching off the lights because they’re not helping in the fog with the night, it’s crazy, but you can at least see and have pace notes, so you know where you are. 

“Here, especially the first lap, it wasn’t easy and I didn’t know where I was. I was backing off, everybody was backing off, especially it was as I said a quite conservative approach and I struggled a lot with the grip, with keeping the car on track.” 

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After an accident in the Ronde di Andora rally in February 2011 left Kubica with a partially severed right arm, he took time out of racing to recuperate before returning to action in a rally car, becoming a regular participant in the World Rally Championship and the European Rally Championship from 2013-15.

The last wet grand prix Kubica contested was the inaugural Korean event in 2010, which he finished fifth after starting eighth for Renault.

That race was red-flagged for 45 minutes after a rolling start and three laps behind the safety car. When it was restarted behind the safety car again, the field completed 14 laps before conditions were deemed suitable for racing.

Complaints that rolling starts behind the safety car made for dull racing prompted the FIA to introduce a new wet-weather starting procedure for the 2018 season, though it has not been required until last weekend at Hockenheim.

“All in all, it was a valuable experience and for sure, nine years is a long time,” said Kubica. 

“But still I think in these conditions it’s a lot about keeping your head down and staying calm. A lot of cars were faster than us, or most of them, but still you have to drive to your limits and not what you see around you.”

Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso STR14, leads George Russell, Williams Racing FW42, and Robert Kubica, Williams Racing FW42

Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso STR14, leads George Russell, Williams Racing FW42, and Robert Kubica, Williams Racing FW42

Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event German GP
Sub-event Race
Drivers Robert Kubica
Teams Williams
Author Stuart Codling