Robert Kubica received a new steering wheel after the Formula 1 summer break. The new wheel has most of the controls moved to the left-hand side, due to the Pole’s injured right arm.
Kubica requested the modification at the beginning of the season, but the team wasn’t able to deliver it earlier than the Italian Grand Prix. The modified steering wheel was needed because of the injury to the right arm that Kubica suffered in 2011. The Polish driver says the new steering wheel is helpful.
“It helps. It was supposed to be a steering wheel, which [I should have had for the] start the year, but it came a bit later than start of the year,” said Kubica.
“The difference is that two buttons instead of [being on the] right are on the left-hand side, and there is an additional paddle on the left-hand side.”
Williams’ Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson explained that the plan was to produce the wheel earlier in the season, but other priorities (stemming from Williams’ considerable lack of pace at the beginning of the season) got in the way.
“It’s one of those things that, when the car is as slow as it is, or certainly was earlier in the season, it’s very hard to justify upgrades that only suit one driver,” said Robson.
“That’s the level we’ve had to face; if we’re faced with a new steering wheel or a new front wing, how do we play that? And that’s not easy.
“Clearly that hasn’t helped Robert, but it’s just one of the trades we had to make unfortunately.”
Robson went on to say that the new wheel will not boost Kubica’s performance much, but it will make the functions more accessible to him.
“It just makes it a little bit easier to access all the functions.
“You see particularly George [Russell] does a huge amount around the lap, switch changes, which do help him. And this new wheel makes it more accessible and easier for Robert as well.
“The lap time effect there is I guess the icing on the cake, which I think in terms of ultimate lap time is small, but I think it’s more that it’s been frustrating for him rather than the actual lap time loss,” concluded Robson.