For the Formula-1-season 2018 there is only one free cockpit. It’s still unclear who Willams’second driver will be next to Lance Stroll. Robert Kubica is supposed to be out of the race.
The favourite is Sergey Sirotkin. According to reports, the Russian is to be officially introduced as a Williams driver in January. While some observers shake their heads when choosing Stroll/Sirotkin, Sirotkin receives back cover from Renault team leader Cyril Abiteboul.
In the last two years Sirotkin was a test driver at Renault. The 22-year-old took part in free training six times on Friday. He was on two test runs. We were impressed by Sergey,”Abiteboul says to”Motorsport-Total.com”.”We were impressed with Sergey.” He was also unlucky because there were technical difficulties in two or three Free Trainings that had nothing to do with him.”Therefore, Sirotkin could not always show his potential in public.
“Has shown his Pace”
“But if he could drive, he has shown his Pace. Moreover, he has a very good understanding of the car,”says Abiteboul.”It’s a good idea. I find his technical feedback amazing, considering how little experience he has in Formula One cars. That was helpful to us in any case. Some developments this season are due to Sergey’s feedback in the car and in the simulator. With regard to his Pace, his loyalty, his focus and his work, he deserves a chance in formula 1.”
Sirotkin has not yet contested a Grand Prix. He finished his two Formula Two years (2015, 2016) in third place. This season the Russian entered the LMP2 class for the first time in Le Mans with SMP racing, but had no luck.” It is difficult for me to estimate how strong he would be in Formula One, no matter what teammates he is against,”Abiteboul says. But he has definitely earned a chance.”
Kubica did not convince restlessly
Kubica also tested for Renault in the summer, but with Nico Hilkenberg and Carlos Sainz the seats are awarded. Kubica and Sirotkin then tested for Williams in Abu Dhabi, with the Pole not convincing the team without a fight. Thus Sirotkin is in the pole position for the cockpit. He’s also supposed to bring a lot more money than Kubica. Nonetheless, Abiteboul believes that Sirotkin has also earned his chance with skill.
“He has a natural gift and peace. But in the modern formula 1 you get nothing given,”says the Frenchman. That Renault has enabled both Kubica and Sirotkin to test, Abiteboul is putting his racing stable on the flag. We have allowed them many kilometers with a current and an old car. I think Sergei is now a different driver than he was twelve months ago. If he is chosen by Williams, I think it is also because of our work.”