Williams: Sirotkin & Stroll for 2018; Kubica in reserve

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The decision has been made and Williams F1 have announced their 2018 driver lineup. Many were hoping to see a return for Robert Kubica but all is not lost as Robert has secured a reserve and development role with the team.

Lance Stroll will team with Sergey Sirotkin for the 2018 season and after a series of test drives for several candidates, Williams chose the young man with an engineering degree.

Sergey Sirotkin added; “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.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal said; “After an extensive driver evaluation process, I am thrilled to have our 2018 line-up finalised, and I’m excited to see what next season brings. We have taken our time to evaluate all the available options, and I’m confident Lance and Sergey can deliver the best results for the team. The Williams philosophy has always been to promote and develop young talent and Sergey fits right into that ethos. Lance has had a record-breaking debut season, and with a year now under his belt, he will be ready to hit the ground running in 2018. We have a talented driver line-up for 2018, that we are confident will deliver some exciting results for the team.”

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer, added; “We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process. 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.  I’m delighted he will be joining the team 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.”

Before you get really frustrated about Kubica, he is most likely in the best place to make a possible F1 return. Let’s be honest, he hasn’t driven in anger in F1 for quite some time. His rally accident ended his short-lived F1 career but working his way back into a development role might give Robert the chance to re-capture his F1 chops as the team seems intent to let him run on Fridays etc.

Robert Kubica said; “I’m extremely happy to be joining the Williams team as its official Reserve and Development Driver this season. 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. I have enjoyed being back in the Formula One 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 One and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, said: “I am delighted to announce that Robert will be joining Williams as our Reserve and Development Driver for the 2018 season. All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved, and it is a great credit to his strength of character and commitment to return to Formula One. We are excited to be continuing our relationship with Robert and look forward to working with him this coming season.”

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer, added: “First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate Robert on what he has achieved so far. To overcome his injuries, return to fitness, and drive a Formula One car again is a remarkable achievement, and one that few considered possible. We anticipate Robert will make a strong technical contribution to the team, using his wealth of experience in track testing, simulator work, and support to the race drivers and engineers at every race. He is a driver I have admired for many years and I am personally very happy to be working with him towards our 2018 Championship.”

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Rapierman

I think I may have heard Sirotkin’s name before in IndyCar, but I could be wrong.

Tom Firth

He’s been linked to F1 drives in the past at Sauber. That is how you will recall his name most likely.

This is a good decision I feel by Williams. I would have liked Kubica in terms of a feel good story, but Sirotkin is a good driver, he’s improved a lot since first been linked with F1 teams and I feel deserves a chance at F1.

subcritical71

Is the drivers lineup now set for 2018?

Tom Firth

Yes, that is the full grid set with this announcement.

sunny stivala

Renault had both Kubica and Sirotkin at their disposal to replace Palmer yet they chose to go with Sainz. Williams had both di Resta and Kvyat at thier disposal to replace Massa who am sure would have stayed if Williams wanted too, yet they chose to give their racing seat to Sirotkin and their reserve seat to Kubica. confuse me some, confuse me not.

charlie

Color me unimpressed. If the Williams team wanted a Russian driver, I’d thought it would be Kyvat. Not much experience between the two drivers, so who’s #1? The one that delivered the most money?

sunny stivala

Exactly.

ShocksAndAwe

Really? Kyvat? He’s spent the last two years destroying his reputation, why on earth would Williams even consider him?

And Williams were hardly looking for Russian driver — as if they cared where the driver was from!

Realistically, Sirotkin was the only real option besides Kubica (other top junior drivers being affiliated with Red Bull or Ferrari).

sunny stivala

What Williams will consider is the money put on table, they never and still don’t car were it is coming from.

charlie

Sure, Kyvat could also repair his reputation with a new team. Others have done it My point being is Williams would be getting at least one experienced driver in the fold instead of two with little or no experience in F1. They made their choice based on finances not talent or experience. I expect the team to fall further behind Force India in 2018.

sunny stivala

Same as my expectations.

ShocksAndAwe

No, they made their decision based on finances, talent, professionalism, etc. Yes, money was probably by far the most important factor, but that doesn’t mean other factors are ignored. The folks at Williams are not stupid people. They don’t make decisions without thinking about them. Don’t kid yourselves. Money is the most important factor for every single team on the grid. The only difference between Williams and Merc when it comes to money, is that Merc has a lot and Williams doesn’t. And that factors into every single decision. It’s not some ideological choice as to whether they go for… Read more »

JakobusVdL

And not a word about the real loss in this situation, Paul Di Resta is out of Williams!
Och Noooooooo! :-(

sunny stivala

Jacko, Paul Di Resta was never in contention for this present Williams race seat.

JakobusVdL

He was on the initial list, but my angst is because he’s lost the test and development driver role. Hope they keep him on the SKY F1 team.

sunny stivala

One cannot be on any Williams list without money.

JakobusVdL

That’s becoming very evident.
I’m getting uncomfortable with the fact that F1 is becoming the playground of the children of the world’s billionaires.
I see that I was wrong about Di Resta’s role last year, he was reserve driver not test driver, still sad to see the last remaining Scot is out of F1.

ChuckV

They’re taking over everything else, F1 was inevitable

JakobusVdL

At least there are still sports like football (soccer) where rich parents can’t buy you success

JakobusVdL

Looks like Williams have got to a good place, financially, and hopefully talent wise. Sirotkin and €20m, as a full time driver, Kubica and a substantial portion of his reported €8m financial package as test and development driver plus (presumably a role to coach and mentor Stroll and his €20/year). Pat Fry as chief technical officer (also an investor in Williams), Mercedes power units, lots of publicity to attract some sponsors. If Sirotkin proves to be an Ocon level talent, and Stroll continues to develop and improves his consistency, Williams should be capable of at least matching Force India in… Read more »

sunny stivala

Money wise yes at Williams, but at Renault it seems that money was not a problem, plus Renault is a manufacturer of their own PU and not a customer of a PU using their own transmission, to see what a difference it makes when one PU customer is closer to the supplier than another, look at FI which I believe operated on a smaller budget than Williams but uses a complete as supplied power train.

sunny stivala

I believe that Stroll is worth at least double than E20m a year.

JakobusVdL

F.I.have done a brilliant job with their limited budget for the past couple of seasons, but I’m expecting that all the extra money Williams are pulling in, plus the big brain of Pat Fry should give them the capability to design and develop a better car than F.I. Then it will be a question of their drivers having the capabilities to use it it out perform Perez and Ocon on track. That said, with Renault developing rapidly, and McLaren (hopefully) having a more competitive p.u, its looking like Williams and F.I could be fighting for 6th and 7th in the… Read more »

sunny stivala

Well this being F1 nothing is impossible, but the way I see it for them is going down and not up.

JakobusVdL

Williams have been up and down a lot since they lost the Honda engines at the end of the 90’s. Given they’ve got the Mercedes p.u, relatively large amounts of money, a great technical leader, this should be an up period.

sunny stivala

I hope that they will be on the way up, but I honestly doubt it. but as I said, this is F1 and anything is possible.

JakobusVdL

I’m a great optimist, I always image all the teams are going to have a fantastic year.
I’m still half hoping Williams, Force India , Renault and McLaren can all finish third this coming season ;-)
Did you see the my recent reply to SubCritical on the ‘Cost cap is not enough’ thread?
I found an article on the F1metrics site that looks at the cost of F1 and relationship between team spend and success. Its a great read (the article, not my post).

sunny stivala

JAKO, Half or full hoping, there can be only one team finishing third. I did see your recent reply to Sub C. FImetrics (which is one site along with others that that unlike FIB Liberty has so far left alone) is one of the sites I have bookmarked. so yes I seen their exelent statistics artcle. a very good read. Re this and these pages, we are here mostly involved in owr own personal opinion and interpretations of things going on, my arguments were mostley centered on who have the rights to impose rules and regulations, as otherwise what rules… Read more »

JakobusVdL

Yeah, I just want all the teams to do well.
The way F1 is governed is one of the mysteries of the universe, the process by which decisions on rules and regulations are made even more so.

sunny stivala

Jako, I see no mystery in past or present rules and regulation making, before the rules and regulations were dictatorially imposed by the FIA as per the wishes of the commercial rights holder, today they are imposed by consensus between all concerned.

JakobusVdL

I guess no mystery about the process of documenting the regulations, but I think there is still a fair amount of mystery about where the regulations come from, even in the era of consensus we had the surprise dictate of Bernie’s last hurrah with the big wheel, big wing cars. And what about the knock out qualifying?????

sunny stivala

Jako, When on Wednesday we were talking Di Resta I told you that he was never in contention for the race seat, now today I confirmed even before they gave the race seat to SS and the testing/development seat to RK, they had planed and budgeted for 8 FP’S being sold to Latifi for this year. nobody will be on a Williams list unless the money is on the table.

JakobusVdL

That supports my opinion that if the money is available the teams will spend it.
I should be pleased, as it also aligns with my view that the technical capacity of the team should be what makes the difference to on track performance, but somehow it seems sad that only the children and proteges of the ultra wealthy get to race in F1.