Williams Martini Racing has announced Sergey Sirotkin as part of its 2018 Formula 1 driver line-up alongside Lance Stroll to complete the new season’s grid.

The Russian driver was part of the Williams driver assessment in the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test alongside Robert Kubica and after weeks of speculation the 22-year-old has been formally confirmed by the British squad as its new F1 driver.

Sirotkin, who acted as Renault F1’s reserve and development driver in 2017, effectively replaces the retiring Felipe Massa at Williams alongside Stroll by beating Kubica to the race seat. The Russian driver will enjoy his rookie F1 season in 2018 with Williams who will have the most inexperience driver pairing on the grid with Stroll having completed his maiden F1 campaign last year.

Having spent 2017 away from full-time racing, with the exception of a Formula 2 replacement drive in Azerbaijan and his Le Mans 24 Hours debut with SMP Racing, Sirotkin had achieved back-to-back third place finishes in the GP2 Series in 2015 and 2016.

Sirotkin became a late front-runner for the Williams drive after the Abu Dhabi test when reports emerged about concerns surrounding Kubica’s capabilities during his test in the 2017-specificaiton Williams.

At the same time the Russian driver impressed Williams at the tyre test and hails his performance as the enabler to “achieve my dream” of reaching F1.

“To say I’m happy and proud to join such a famous team like Williams is an understatement,” Sirotkin said. “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.”

Stroll has been re-signed for a second consecutive F1 campaign having also impressed in 2017 by becoming the youngest-ever rookie podium finisher which came in Azerbaijan followed by the youngest-ever front row starter when he lined up second on the grid in Italy.

“First of all I would like to welcome Sergey to Williams and I am looking forward to having him as my team-mate,” Stroll said. “I know Sergey and I am sure we will very quickly form a close working relationship.

“I really enjoyed my rookie season with the team, and there were a number of memorable highlights, on which I’ll look to build on in the coming season. I’m looking forward to Barcelona, and driving the new FW41 for the first time.”


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