Williams Martini Racing deputy team principal Claire Williams has outlined the reasons behind the team’s selection of Sergey Sirotkin as its Formula 1 race driver alongside Lance Stroll with Robert Kubica handed the reserve role.

After weeks of speculation Williams has confirmed its 2018 F1 driver line-up with Sirotkin securing his F1 debut campaign as Stroll’s new team-mate with Kubica given the reserve and development position.

Kubica had been a strong favourite for a dramatic F1 comeback this season, having been out of the sport since 2011 after suffering a severed right forearm in a rally accident, but after the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test Williams has opted for 22-year-old Sirotkin over the experienced Pole.

With the official confirmation of its full F1 driver line-up for 2018, Williams moved to explain the reasons behind the team’s decisions. Speculation had grown around a reported £15m boost from Sirotkin’s SMP Racing backers but Williams insists its policy to “promote and develop young talent” was a key factor.

“The Williams philosophy has always been to promote and develop young talent and Sergey fits right into that ethos,” Williams said. “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.

“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.

“We have a talented driver line-up for 2018, that we are confident will deliver some exciting results for the team.”

Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe has echoed the team’s thoughts and was personally struck by Sirotkin’s all-round abilities demonstrated at the Abu Dhabi test.

“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,” Lowe said. “I’m delighted he will be joining the team to partner Lance next season.”


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While I feel bad for RK, it became increasingly clear the /Russian was by far the fastest of the bunch. And he has performed extremely well for Renault and deserves his shot. Let's hope the Williams is a better developed car this year, capable of at least frightening the. top teams from time to time.

Felipe Massa mentioned in his farewell interview that he already knew who was gonna replace him but couldnt talk since he it is not his problem. The decision to bring in Russian was taken months ago looks like due to the finance available etc. Kubica was used by Williams to gain more publicity and the reserve driver role is another step towards creating more publicity. Kubica is better off finding another racing seat before he gets too old.

Since when has the Williams philosophy been to promote and develope young talent? What a bizarre and inaccurate statement. 

Besides the "developing young talent" reason Claire spoke of, she didn't bother to mention the other 15 million reasons the seat went to Sirotkin. Just shameful.

Stroll's record breaking season??? His only record would be the most expensive path to F1 in history. Thanks Dad.

'What do I feed the press dad?' 

'Tell them we back young driver programs and that is why Sirotkin got the nod and not Robert.'

'Don't mention the money.'

Sir Frank stared her dead in the eyes, 'Of course not they're a gullible lot, young driver porgram, never ever mention the money.'

3 Reasons

Money Money Money


young like :Mansell, Wurz, Senna, Piquet, Prost, Mansell, Massa, Patrese, Hill, Gene, Frentzen, Boutson!!


"The Williams philosophy has always been to promote and develop young talent"

A simple misprint really which left out the word 'rich' between 'young' and 'talent'.

It's amazing how they had the opprotunity to do the feel good story of the year (hire Robert) in a time when their team (and F1 in general) could use some good news....and blew it big time.

Never mind the fake news "tough decision process" ...yikes!!

They already hired a paid driver last year (along with Massa's nest egg, to a point) but, like the goverment...gimme, gimme the money!!!


Now "has been and never made it superstar"  Ex-F1 driver Chandhok (supposedly his "friend") is pig piling on...wow, no wonder F1 is a mess.


Good Luck, Liberty!!