Williams Martini Racing have at last comfirmed their driver line-up for the upcoming Formula One season, with Russian Sergey Sirotkin to partner Lance Stroll. Robert Kubica will make his official return to Formula One by becoming the team's test and reserve driver.
Although many had hoped that the highly rated Pole would get a race seat, the team have opted for Sirotkin, a driver who finished 3rd in the GP2 championships in 2015 and 2016, before two years as a testing driver for Renault F1.
Sergey Sirotkin 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.”
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.”
Backing this young driver line-up, Williams proved happy to sign Kubica as well, an experienced and highly skilled driver who has been working hard to return to the forefront after a severe rally accident that almost saw him lose his right hand.