SIROTKIN PARTNERS STROLL IN 2018
At just 19 and 22, the Williams duo is the youngest line-up on the 2018 grid, and one of the least experienced. They will be aided by Williams’ new reserve driver, Robert Kubica, who was also one of the favourites to replace Felipe Massa.
“To say I’m happy and proud to join a famous team like Williams is an understatement,” said Sirotkin.
"It took a huge amount of work to get where I am and I’m really happy and thankful to everyone involved.
The result of our combined efforts has helped me achieve my dream and rest assured the team can rely on me to deliver my best.”
Sirotkin makes the step up from GP2, where he finished third in 2015 and 2016. The Russian only completed a handful of races last season, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing’s LMP2 squad.
Last year, Sirotkin’s main focus was his test driver role with Renault. He ran in four free practice sessions throughout the year, including in front of his home crowds, as well as the Abu Dhabi test at the end of last season where he impressed Williams.
“We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process,” said chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.
“Ultimately Sergey impressed the team with his driving pace and talent, technical feedback and work ethic, both at the factory and trackside in Abu Shabi.
I’m delighted he will be joining the tea to partner Lance next season. Lance will be going into his second season with us, after notable achievements in his rookie year.
We have an exciting line-up for 2018, which we believe will help us to maximise the potential of the FW41.”
Sirotkin’s appointment completes the grid for 2018. Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat are all without race seats for this year, though Kvyat has joined Ferrari as a reserve driver.
Also without a race seat is Robert Kubica, who had been hoping to return to F1 after injuring his arm in a rally crash in 2011. He will play an active role within Williams as the test and reserve driver, but is still targeting a full F1 comeback.
“I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting faith in me with this appointment,” he said.
“I have enjoyed being back in the Formula 1 paddock over these past few months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical team, both at the factory and at the track, to really help push forward the development of the FW41 and to make a real difference to their 2018 campaign.
Having driven both the FW36 and the FW40, I’m looking forward to seeing how the FW41 measures up on track and working with the team to ensure we can maximise the performance of the car.
My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula 1 and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.”
Kubica will run in a number of practice sessions as well as pre-season and in-season testing. He’ll also be on standby to fill in for Sirotkin or Stroll if needed, as was the case when Paul di Resta replaced Felipe Massa last season.
Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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