Williams Martini Racing confirms Kubica as a reserve to Stroll, Sirotkin
Robert Kubica is back to Formula One, but not as millions of his fans expected. The 33-year-old Polish racing ace will serve as reserve and development driver to Williams Martini Racing. The team confirms the 22-year-old Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin as the second driver for the 2018 Formula One season, next to Lance Stroll who wil stay with the team for the second consecutive year.
Sergey Sirotkin most recently impressed with his his performance at the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tyre test where he drove the Williams FW40 for the first time, but it wasn’t his first F1 experience. In 2016, he was selected as test driver for Renault Sport F1, combining his role with a season in the GP2 Series. He finished third in the points in the 2016 GP2 season, same as the year before.
In 2017, Sirotkin continued with testing duties in Formula 1, participating in just two F2 races and making a debut at Le Mans 24 Hours with SMP Racing’s LMP2 prototype. Now, he’s ready to make F1 race debut at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
“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,” Sergey Sirotkin said.
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.”
As a third driver, Robert Kubica will have a particularly active role within the team this year, including participation in the Barcelona pre-season testing, in-season testing, and will also take part in a number of race weekend practice sessions.
“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,” Robert Kubica said.
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.”
Photos: Williams F1,