Williams confirm Sirotkin role

16 January 2018 22:48:33 GMTPlus10

Williams have confirmed that Sergey Sirotkin will drive for the team in Formula 1 in 2018 with Robert Kubica appointed reserve and development driver.

The Grove-based team now boast the youngest line-up in the sport this year as the 22-year-old will link up with 19-year-old Lance Stroll.

Ultimately, Sergey impressed the team with his driving pace and talent, technical feedback and work ethic, both at the factory and trackside in Abu Dhabi.

Paddy Lowe

Following the news, the Russian former GP2 race winner, who has had test driver roles at Sauber and Renault in the past but has never raced in F1, said: "To say I'm happy and proud to join such a famous team like Williams is an understatement.

"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."

It might appear to be a gamble to appoint Sirotkin but the youngster drove in four Friday Practice sessions for Renault last year and then impressed when he tested Williams' 2017 car in Abu Dhabi in November.

"We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process," said technical chief 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 Dhabi."

Meanwhile Kubica, who was hoping for a driver role as he looks to return to F1 after suffering life-changing injuries in a rally crash seven years ago, was promised an 'active role' as a reserve driver and will feature in Barcelona pre-season testing, in-season testing, and a number of race weekend practice sessions.

The 33-year-old Pole said: "I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I'd like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting their faith in me with this appointment.

"My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula One and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started."

Meanwhile, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is 1.53 to retain his drivers championship title, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is 2.75 to come out on top in 2018.

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