Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams attends a news conference at the Baku Formula One city circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan on Friday. Photo: Sergei Grits/AP

BAKU – Robert Kubica and George Russell will demonstrate the defiance and resilience of the Williams team on Sunday when they line up on the grid for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix with the struggling outfit adamant that they are not for sale.

After two high-speed incidents, one on Friday that saw British rookie Russell survive running over a loose drainage cover that wrecked his car and one on Saturday when Kubica crashed into a wall, the struggling outfit were left flattened.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams, daughter of founder Frank Williams, admitted as much when on Saturday she also had to reject renewed claims that her family were set to sell their former champion team.

“It’s one thing after another at the moment. I saw those stories, I paid little attention to them,” she said, dismissing reports that Russian businessman Dmitri Mazepin was set to make a bid. 

“I haven’t met Mr Mazepin to talk about that. We had a brief conversation in the mid-part of last year, but subsequent to that there have been no conversations.

“I’d just like to be really categorical about it: Williams is not for sale. I have no intention of putting Williams up for sale. I don’t see why we would.”

The team lost its title sponsor Martini when their deal ended last year and has no backing this year from Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance Stroll has left and moved to Racing Point.

But it has a new sponsorship deal with Rokit telecommunications and some support from the Polish sponsors of Kubica, who on Saturday walked away after a big accident at Turn Eight, a sharp corner by the Baku castle, when he plunged into the barriers.

In a statement, the team said it would repair the car in time to race on Sunday.

“I clipped the inside with the front left which pushed me into the wall,” said Kubica. 

“It’s the worst place and unfortunately I paid quite a high price. That’s how it is.”

Kubica went to the medical centre. 

“It’s not a huge impact, but of course they had to, for precautions, do all the tests. I feel good so no problem.”

Russell was able to take part in Saturday’s action after the team used their only spare chassis to build him a car.

Williams was defiant. 

“This is what we do. We don’t have anything else to do so it is not on the market. I don’t want to sell to anybody.

“I want to go out and prove that we can do what we are in this sport to do -- and that’s to get back on the podium and to win races again.

“That may take us a long time, but it took Frank more than 10 years to do it when he first started in this sport and I’m sure we’ll have a lot more stuff thrown our way.

“But you don’t give up when times get tough. For me it’s a test of your character that you continue and prove to everybody that you can do it.”

AFP