Williams has denied that its newly-announced Formula 1 partnership with Acronis is related to its signing of Sergey Sirotkin for the 2018 season despite the technology company's Russian links.

Williams confirmed it had joined forces with Acronis in a press conference at its factory on Tuesday, with the cloud software and cyber security specialist jumping ship from Toro Rosso.

The arrival of Acronis coincides with the team's signing of Sirotkin, who takes over as the only full-time Russian driver in F1 from Daniil Kvyat, formerly of Toro Rosso, with the company enjoying a significant presence in Moscow and links to Russia through its founder, Serguei Beloussov.

However, both Acronis and Williams denied the arrival of Sirotkin influenced the deal, instead preferring to focus on more technological aspects of the partnership moving forward that would benefit more than the F1 team.

"For us, it was totally unrelated," Acronis president John Zanni said. "It had to do with the technology. That's the basis of our decision.

"Williams in particular [was attractive] because of the size of the infrastructure, the size of the challenge, their alignment with wanting to use our hybrid cloud architecture and their willingness to work with us. We all know technology is not perfect, and infrastructures are not all the same.

"We knew that we'd very quickly be able to meet their needs, and secondly we'd be able to grow with them through expanding and getting new requirements ranging from AI technology, making sure backups are protected.

"We use technology to make sure that if someone tries to attack the backup we protect it. There's a lot we can do in that space. They're a great partner so far."

Williams CIO Graeme Hackland added: "We've talked a lot about Formula 1, but at Williams we also have our Advanced Engineering business which is taking all the technology and know-how and applying it to other industries. That data is just incredible.

"Formula 1 data tends to be valuable for a couple of years, and then the car is so out of date that it's less and less. In Advanced Engineering, we're working with intellectual property that's going to be valuable for 70 years.

"We're putting it into road cars or hospitals or aerospace or defence projects. Protecting that data and proving the history of the data hasn't been tampered with is just as important to us.

"I know we focus a lot on the Formula 1 challenges, but looking after someone else's IP or IP that has been jointly developed is just as important to us."


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