Lance Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 2018

Williams choose Sirotkin over Kubica for final place on 2018 grid

2018 F1 season

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Williams has selected Sergey Sirotkin as its second driver for the 2018 F1 season to partner Lance Stroll.

The team evaluated Sirotkin alongside Robert Kubica in Abu Dhabi last year as the team evaluated its options for this season.

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

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Yas Marina, 2017
Sergey Sirotkin biography
“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.”

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said the team has “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,” said Lowe. “We have an exciting lineup for 2018 which we believe will help us to maximise the potential of the FW41,” he added.

Sirotkin first came to prominence in Formula One four years ago when he was linked with a drive at Sauber. The move never came off, though he made a single appearance for the team in the first practice session for Russia’s inaugural Grand Prix in 2014.

In 2016 he joined Renault’s young driver programme and has made a further six appearances in practice sessions over the last two years.

Sirotkin did not have a full-time drive in a series last year but his third-place finishes in the 2015 and 2016 GP2 championships mean he has more than the minimum required 40 superlicence points to step up to F1.

Williams’ announcement means all 20 race seats in the 2018 F1 field have been filled.

View the updated list of 2018 F1 drivers and teams

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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157 comments on “Williams choose Sirotkin over Kubica for final place on 2018 grid”

  1. As expected

    1. I didn’t expect that photoshop above. Williams could hire someone better with all their money.

      1. @peartree

        Hopefully they’re spending all the money on engineering. They’re going to need a good car after supporting the most rubbish driver lineup on the F1 grid.

        1. @todfod Maybe, particularly self driving f1 ai.

  2. Good luck to him and hope he succeeds. Williams doesn’t have a consistent driver now.

  3. Pretty concerned for Williams this season. If they produce a decent car then I’m not expecting either driver to extract the maximum from it.

    1. Yep. Expecting their car to be around the level of Force India and Renault. However, they’ll likely be fighting Haas in the constructors.

  4. Who is the first quote from in Williams’ press release announcing Sirotkin?

    Claire Williams?
    Frank Williams?
    Paddy Lowe?


    Lance Stroll.

    1. the owner, sounds about right

        1. Seconded

      1. @johnmilk – LOL, nice zinger

      2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        16th January 2018, 12:26

        COTD +1000

      3. wow, that was savage

      4. On the money as always @johnmilk

      5. tomorrow we’ll see the punniest COTD ever.

    2. Figured as such some time ago. Hope Stroll delivers for Williams, and Formula 1’s sake. Williams is one of the last, true great “independent” Formula 1 Teams. Seeing it fight for survival this way really does hurt a bit.

      1. they just need to be independent of their drivers now

        shouldn’t you be preparing for the new season?

    3. As the number one driver at Williams his dad requested that he would have his day in the choice of the other driver. Isn’t it like this for Lewis and Seb…?

      As said above, I don’t expect this pair to push the car to the limit but given the option Williams would always end up in that situation unfortunately. Quite sad. Might be a good opportunity for other drivers next year…

    4. @keithcollantine A bit of savageness there, LOL.

      1. @jerejj Not really, it’s true! But telling, I can’t help but think.

    5. To be fair, there’s a good bit of background bio for Sirotkin before that Stroll quote, but there’s also a long paragraph about Stroll’s accomplishments in there too…oy…

    6. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
      16th January 2018, 16:52

      The best thing is: The second half of the quote is not even about Sirotkin but about how Stroll enjoyed 2017 and is looking forward to ’18. Holy Jeebus!

  5. As expected, but a massive shame. Good, not good enough: deciding factor money.

    1. Who else could they put in? Kvyat?

      1. Wehrlein is a much faster driver than Kvyat IMO, and would have been a superb choice

      2. @Flyingbasil Kvyat had already been confirmed as a test/development driver for Ferrari a few days ago so that automatically dropped him out of the contention for the Williams drive before this confirmation.

  6. Sirotkin is certainly not a bad driver. He has shown good skills and racecraft in GP2, as well as some inconsistencies that have to be ironed out. I expect him to be the fastest of the pairing by mid-season.

    1. @spoutnik Indeed.

      I have heard good things about him and I think it’s fair that he gets a shot in F1. A lot of people are obviously disappointed that Kubica isn’t returning, but let’s give Sergey Sirotkin a chance before we judge how good / bad he is.

    2. I hope he will build on the speed he often showed in the past and have calmed down enough to avoid the mistakes – rather the same goes for lance, although he has shown less of those moments of speed IMO.

      I guess it will be interesting to see how both develop during the year, and all of us will no doubt be looking for all signs we can get that maybe, maybe Robert will get more time in the car :-)

      1. He is fast and his greatest enemy is his nerves, can he get them under control, he will be really quick.

        its sad to see williams FB and how much crap they are given because they were smart

        1. Yeah, I agree with that, if he can cut out those, Sirotkin can do very well @marussi

  7. Will be 7th in the contructors. Way off Renault, McLaren and Force India. Just ahead of Haas, Toro Rosso and Sauber. What a downfall for such a historic team..

    1. and neither Robert, Di resta or kvyat could change that.

      Williams is on a downhill and thats been like that for the last 2 years, Sirotkin is fast and stroll is……avarage

      1. They have been on the downhill since 1994. Sirotkin. Average.

  8. Unimpressive, unimaginative, expected

    Don’t understand why they went this route of choosing between Kubica and Sirotkin, plenty of other choices, but that’s Williams lately I’m afraid

    1. I think Williams just recognized that those 2 drivers had some assets no other avaialable drivers had:
      – Sirotkin had the money (and good pace on top of that)
      – Kubica had the car-development technical ability

      Williams has eventually chosen the most beneficial combination of them both.

      1. @damon, Kubica had to present himself as a pay driver after Renault already determined he wasn’t fast enough. Then another guy was faster and brought even more money than Kubica.

        Yeah the choice doesn’t sound that difficult really.

  9. Time for an F1 Fanatic poll @keithcollantine to see who fans think Williams should’ve gone for as Sirotkin doesn’t seem to be doing it for most people. Personally I’d have liked them to have gone with someone like JEV or Sam Bird who are delivering most weeks in Formula E. F1 experience and quick.

    1. I would do a shootout with:

      -Felix Rosenqvist
      -Edoardo Mortara
      -Lucas Di Grassi
      -Sebastian Buemi
      Even Williams old prospect, Alex Lynn

      All these deserve either a chance, or a second chance, in Formula 1. On another note, they are giving us excellent racing in Formula E, which is excellent.

      1. @tonyyeb And Sam Bird also.

        1. Why Sam Bird? Perennial under-achiever and not young either.

      2. @sergio-perez Sirotkin had a far more impressive GP2 career than either Lynn or Bird, and Mortara, Di Grassi and Buemi are old news in F1 terms. Rosenqvist maybe deserved a go but I still wouldn’t be sure he’s any better than Sirotkin.

    2. “Time for an F1 Fanatic poll @keithcollantine to see who fans think Williams should’ve gone for”
      What would be the point of such poll? We know who the more popular drivers is. Had Sirotkin had previous F1 experience and Kubica was a totally new driver, people would side with Sirotkin.
      There’s no point in dwelling on this.

      1. @damon if the roles were reversed i would go with kubica if he is faster, younger and a big wallet, that is a no brainer.

        only a fool would choose one that is slower, older and less money only because of nostalgia

  10. If what is being reported is true, that Kubica took too much time to get used to the new Pirelli tyres and couldn’t quite make them work (yet), then that says a shameful amount about Williams and about F1. Rather than letting the more talented one, with the incredible comeback story, take his time to get used to tyres and ultimately be the better driver than Sirotkin, they thought about the now, about a driver whose GP2 and test drives have had him familiar with the Pirelli’s and bring a lot of money. Talent should prevail, Williams should have given Kubica the chance and the winter tests to acclimatize. That money prevailed is a damning indictment of F1 right now.

    1. Shouldn’t Renault also bear some of the shame? Williams gave Kubica far more chances than any other team was willing to.

      From what I have read and heard it seems that the issue was actually the ultimate one lap pace. Given how important track position is and how close the grid is, a few tenths could make the difference between being 7th and 12th….

      1. Should it? Renault have Hulk and Sainz. Both are Schumacher compared to Stroll and Sirotkin. Renault went for talent above money, because it was available. Williams went for money over talent, despite talent being available.

        And as to the why, it’s all about getting used to the tyres. Kubica is brilliant. He would have.

        1. As with everything in F1, it isn’t that simple. Renault have the might of a car company behind them, Williams don’t. Easy to pick the drivers you want in that case. I am pretty certain that, if all things were equal, Williams would pick Hulk and Sainz in a heartbeat over Stroll and Sirotkin.

          Also, Kubica was brilliant. There is no guarantee that the 2017 spec Kubica is as quick as the driver we all know and love. If he was categorically as quick as he was before the accident Williams would have signed him…

          1. Well Robert wasn’t as fast overall as “Quick Nick” and HE sunk without trace didn’t he? Honestly, it’s amazing how a relatively fast (but not exceptionally so) F1 driver becomes regarded as the second coming of Senna without hardly turning a wheel!

          2. @geemac, as @baron notes, if Kubica was brilliant, then Heidfeld must have been truly astounding then given that, over the full period of time that Heidfeld and Kubica were paid together at BMW-Sauber, Heidfeld was the one who comes out on top (Heidfeld finished ahead of Kubica 29 times to 23).

            @baron, I guess it is in part because of his 2010 season, where Kubica was perceived to be particularly good – that said, I guess the question is whether that is because he did so well or whether the pre-season expectations for Renault were low after a poor 2009 season and because Petrov struggled so much by comparison, thereby creating the perception that Kubica was performing exceptionally.

            If Kubica had been paired with a stronger driver, or if Renault’s results in 2009 had been closer to their results from 2007 and 2008, I wonder if we would necessarily look back on his performances quite as favourably if expectations had not been anchored at a very low level at the start of the 2010 season.

    2. @hahostolze I understand the frustrations that the hoped for fairy-tale Kubica comeback has not materialised but let’s consider the distance Kubica has covered in 2017 in an F1 car and not forget Renault tested Kubica and chose Sainz (implication Kubica was not fast enough for them to take the risk), in 2017 Kubica has run:

      – 100 laps in the R.S. 17 at Hungaroring in August
      – Undefined number of Laps at Silverstone in FW36 during October
      – 100 laps FW40 at Abu Dhabi in November

      Kubica has driven between 3-4 Full GP’s in 2017 F1 car, over a period of 5 months and has not been fast enough on his return for either Renault or Williams to take the risk.

      I hope that Kubica is able to secure the 2018 development drivers seat with Williams, IF the problem for Kubica is related to the tyres with time he may yet make a return. As @geemac states below the team have been clear on performance as a key factor in the decision….let’s see what journalists are able to find out in 2018.

      1. @ju88sy, as you say, he has spent a lot of time on track in 2017 – if you include the tests where he drove an older F1 car, then I make it that he took part in the following tests over the course of the year:
        – 115 laps in a 2012 spec Renault in Valencia in June
        – 90 laps in the same 2012 spec Renault at Paul Ricard in July
        – 142 laps in the mid season test in Hungary in August with the 2017 spec Renault
        – Private test at Silverstone in the FW36 on 11th October (unknown number of laps covered)
        – Private test in Hungary with the FW36 on the 17th October (again, unknown number of laps covered)
        – 108 laps in the post season test in Abu Dhabi with the 2017 spec Williams in November

        Even allowing for the fact that there were tests with older cars of potentially less applicability, that is still a comparatively generous amount of time spent on track preparing himself.

    3. Kubica is confirmed as a third driver. What is all the fuss is about? Sirotkin doesnt deliver they put robert in. Easy

    4. @hahostolze If it was as easy as someone such as yourself determining from your armchair that Kubica is the more talented one, then I would think they would have hired him, as they (Williams) are the ones with the data and would have seen that too. So no wonder from your armchair this must only be about money.

      If RK needed more time…should have been afforded the winter testing to acclimatize…indeed you would have him take HIS time…then that to me would not be a workable solution, and makes me understand why they hired Sirotkin. What if they gave up valuable car time to RK only to find indeed he is no longer as talented as someone else? The limited testing opportunities they have would not be just RK’s time to take.

      “That money prevailed is a damning indictment of F1 right now” is a sentence that could have been uttered, and has been, regarding many aspects of F1 for many many years now.

      1. Good post @robbie 👍

      2. @robbie Exactly, couldn’t have said it better. COTD.

    5. im sorry but i find it hard as a great comeback story, Monger and Zanardi is far far more impressive as a comeback story, they did loose their limbs and still not gave up.

      1. Has monger returned to f4? No. Has zanardi returned to Indycar? No has Kubica returned to F1? Yes!

        1. @kpcart Zanardi did olympics and won gold, drived many other racing series, Monger is already on comeback to singe seaters, they lost their legs and robert did not lose one arm. Monger is a young kid, if i lost my legs i would be devestated, zanardi proved there was more than f1, robert should do the same

  11. To me, Sirotkin is not the wrong person in this line up…

  12. I’ve followed this story very closely as I am, and always have been, unashamedly a Williams fan. To say I am underwhelmed by the team’s 2018 line up is a bit of an understatement, but all I can do as a fan is trust that the team have picked the best driver for the job.

    The team have been pretty adamant that performance has been the deciding factor and while I would have preferred Wehrlein or Kubica to get the seat, it seems that Sirotkin is the quickest of those the team evaluated. Given Stroll’s inconsistency in 2017, I can only hope Sirotkin has what it takes to ring the FW41’s neck session in, session out. That was the biggest frustration for me last season, Stroll was hit and miss and Massa seemed to be calling it in for most of the season, so who knows how good the FW40 was really.

    Also, to be fair to Sirotkin, while he has funds, it is disingenuous to say he got the drive solely because of that. Kubica would have brought money, Wehrlein would have brought an engine cost discount, so pretty much everyone who would have been in the seat would have brought a budget.

    One final thing, the Autosport article on this topic states: “Sirotkin, 22, and Stroll, 19, will form 2018’s most inexperienced F1 line-up.” While I agree they are the youngest line-up, they aren’t the least experienced in F1 terms. That would be Gasly/Hartley are STR who have a combined 9 race starts to Sirotkin/Stroll’s 20 combined race starts.

    1. @geemac People generally consider the STR line-up ‘more experienced’ because Hartley is an incumbent WEC World Champion.

      1. I suppose that is fair @optimaximal, but he does have just 4 starts to his name so he is hardly the most experienced driver out there in F1 terms.

    2. @geemac I doubt Massa was calling it in, and I’m sure the reason Stroll was hit and miss was not just because of his rookie status, but because by all accounts they struggled to get the finicky tires into their narrow optimum operating temperatures. No surprise given that even LH and VB in the WCC winning car had the same struggles on occasion. With Massa’s experience and what seemed to be, as we were to find out eventually, a desire to remain in F1 longer than just for a one year return, I’m sure he was trying his best (both were) and there was little more to be extracted from the car.

      I hope, for everyone’s sake, both within and without F1, that the tires are more reasonable this year, and not nearly so limiting to close and sustained racing. What a shame that has to be a hope and isn’t just a given.

  13. I would of felt alot more comfortable with an experienced but not 100% fit Kubica in the car alongside the one season old Stroll.

    But saying that I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do

  14. Has anyone seen Sirotkin drive in GP2 or other racing categories ?
    How good is he ?

    Please rate him on a scale of Stroll to Alonso.

    1. He is a fine driver. He can be a bit rash but I definitely enjoyed watching him race in the few gp2 races I’ve watched past two years.

    2. @webtel I love your grading scale :D:D:D

      What a classic: ‘On a scale from Stroll to Alonso’

      I bet very few could disagree :P

      1. i would say a Hybrid of Hulkenberg and Kvyat, Good speed but when his nerves gets the better of him, he will crash

    3. I’d rate him a Stroll-and-a-half.

      1. as Stroll rated himself as an 8.5, that means 12.75 for Sirotkin ;)

    4. On a scale of Stroll to Alonso I rate him at a Sirotkin!


      1. *at a reasonable Sirotkin!

    5. Hahaha, gold. I’ve not heard of Sirotkin before but on the Stroll-to-Alonso scale, I am most looking forward to seeing where Alonso performs on that. *Fingers crossed for decent engine*

  15. It’s an uninspiring pairing, but then this is the team that chose Barrichello over Hulkenberg, and Massa over someone who hadn’t decided to throw in the towel already, and that paired Maldonado with Bruno Senna. Needless to say, they have form.

    1. I don’t understand how anyone can be a fan of them when you have Force India in the grid.

    2. True. They’ve been on a downward spiral for about a decade now.

    3. Barrichello was better than Hulkenberg at that time (57>22pts) and even now we can’t say that Hulkenberg is better than Barrichello was at his best.

    4. @olliej Barrichello was way better than Hulkenberg, deserved to be kept, then Maldonado came in and performed far better relative to Rubens than Nico ever did… The Hulk hype has been going on far too long.

      1. @tflb I agree that Maldonado is underrated (or rather over-hated). Barrichello may have beaten Hulkenberg in the latter’s rookie season, but he had been past his best for years and was very much the conservative choice, while Hulkenberg had potential for the future. Maldonado + Hulkenberg in 2012 would have been a great combination in one of Williams’ most competitive cars of the period.
        I am a big Hulk fan but I admit him getting beaten by Perez at Force India has taken the shine off him considerably. Hopefully he can fulfil his potential later in the year, like Button did.

  16. Just be happy it wasn’t Button….

    1. Here-here!!

      1. hear, hear ;)

  17. Lewisham Milton
    16th January 2018, 11:41

    Worst Williams line-up since the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix.

    1. I see what you did there…

      1. Was that the boycott?

  18. So sad, terrible news

  19. Great news..

    ..fir Renault, Haas and McLaren.

  20. petebaldwin (@)
    16th January 2018, 12:12

    I can understand why people are uninspired but Sirotkin is decent. He’s not one of the best 20 drivers in the world but he’s much better than Stroll and will be comfortably ahead by the European races.

    1. I’ll take the other side of that. No way Laurence allows anyone into Lance’s F1 team that can beat Lance in a straight fight. Lance’s F1 Team, d.b.a. “Williams Grand Prix”, must have data that supports Lance can and will be faster than Sirotkin. Otherwise I can’t see them bringing Sirotkin on board.

      1. Actually, judgind from that test they did sirotkin was faster than kubica AND lance…..its open data.

      2. I have enough faith in the bright people at Williams, including the Strolls, that they will not consider this so much a driver vs driver contest, but a work in progress to improve the car. They hardly have the luxury of holding one side back to favour the other side. Surely Lance himself, as well as Laurence and the team, think that he can do big things in F1, so I highly doubt they need to ‘handicap’ the team to make Stroll look better. They wouldn’t fool anyone with that tact. I say if Stroll gets beat, so be it and that will just raise the gauntlet, the game, for Stroll.

        Data that supports Lance can and will be faster? That data would be pretty much impossible to bank on since what one driver does vs another on any given day can change the next day.

      3. Gary I think you greatly overestimate how much influence the Strolls have on Williams.

  21. The issue is not Williams, or Clare Williams, or Paddy Lowe, or Frank Willams, and Williams GP is executing on the only tactical driver plan that will work for them at this point: “Show me the money.”
    The issue is that 50% of the sport’s cash flow (EBITDA) goes to support a capital structure that does zero for the sport, namely goodwill and intangible asset mark-ups, which represent nothing more than the present value of the sport removed by Bernie, Slavica Radic, CVC, et al. As such these funds are not available to help the sport, in this case fund team participation. Combine this with the fact that you have massive spending at the front by 3-4 teams, and you have a team like Williams that is stuck in the middle in a perpetually uncompetitive sporting and business model.

    1. Three or four teams spending massively, with other teams seemingly perpetually uncompetitive, has been F1’s business model going back much further than CVC’s involvement. Liberty has just begun their tenure to alter F1, but I doubt they or anyone is under any illusion that they are suddenly, or ever, going to be able to equilize things such that the ‘have’ teams are no longer more advantaged than the ‘have not’ teams.

      I’ve never been one to agree that lesser teams should get handout after handout…there has to be a line drawn there and at some point they need to be fairly self-sufficient to be in F1. That said I can see the money distribution getting better for them, while at the same time I can see stability in the regs, and cars able to race closer together for longer stints, as things that can bring the appearance of the have teams always squelching the lesser teams, as less obvious. Lesser teams can be brought closer to the fight with some pretty basic and doable changes.

  22. So what happened to the Martini sponsorship age stipulation? Thought they needed at least one driver over 25?

    1. According to media.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        16th January 2018, 21:16

        It wasn’t the media. I don’t think it was absolutely critical they had to have one. But Claire Williams did say that they were struggling to find a suitable driver for 2017 due to this when Bottas left and this age restriction was one of the main reasons why they went for Massa. But I think what the team want had managed to go against what Martini want this time.

      2. Martini(‘s marketeers) also said that (as strongly preferred).

        But this is Martini’s last year, and Williams probably wants to please its own cash flow more than a leaving sponsor.

        When Paddy said “(the team has) conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process.”, I couldn’t stop thinking that it was exhausting only to count those $15 million.

  23. What an uninspiring line-up. Maybe if Kubica consistently embarrasses these kids in the Free Practice sessions Williams will come to their senses.

    1. and if he doesn’t? Then Kubica is an embarresment

      1. The guy who came barely alive from a crash and made it back to the paddock while keeping it to himself – an embarrassing achievement, indeed.
        I see Mr, that you have a very negative attitude towards Kubica and you show it in every comment of yours. That really throws a shadow on healthy discussion with you.

      2. That isn’t fair on Kubica considering his disability could make driving in certain situations more difficult for him.

        1. Not hating but all this kubica hype has gone to far, happy that he survived but all this about him being better than a couple of kids is not fair, they had just like robert worked their asses off, give them a shot

    2. A few practice laps is not a race distance in anger.

  24. Williams’ driver line-up highlights the financial melee F1 is in. We are currently not able to see the 20 best drivers in the world compete. Frankly that is such a key ingredient of F1 “raison d’etre” that it needs to be tackled soon. Sooner than 2020.
    Immediately move towards cost control, basically taking away the need to hire a paying driver. Either cost cap (and control) needs to be implemented or Liberty should encourage Mercedes and Ferrari (and to a lesser extent Renault) to leave the sport as teams.

  25. What has happened to the once great Williams team? Mansell, Prost, Senna, Hill → Maldonado, Stroll, Sirotkin*

    *Granted Sirotkin’s talent is yet unproven but the financial drivers behind his seat are clear.

    When did Williams become a team of also-rans hiring ‘pay drivers?’ Admittedly they fell on hard times in the post BMW years but the Williams of present have real potential with to challenge the big three teams with the best engine, a solid chassis, decent backing and sponsors, Paddy Lowe and a top rate technical team…

    …We saw last year the relative performance between Bottas → Massa → Stroll….

    How many points will Williams lose this year due to driver choices? And more worryingly, what does this say about the current state and future prospects of Williams, and Formula One as a whole?

    1. Villeneuve…their last WDC.

      How many points will they lose? We won’t know that, and first of all the car needs to improve. Just look at what little no less than FA could manage when the car just isn’t there. Without a good car you can’t attract the best drivers anyway, and obviously there are money issues for Williams and other teams. A top driver that would cost them 40 mill rather than pay them 40 mill, would not manage very many more points, but would perhaps help them advance the car a little more quickly.

      The current state of F1 is still very much left over from the BE/CVC days, so let’s give Liberty some time to mould things as they see is necessary.

  26. One more thing…

    If my dad was a billionaire, I’d be a Formula One driver too!

    1. only if you actually got talent and win things

      1. I won a gocart event at a festival.

    2. @swh1386 Not necessarily, you might just be slow. Just because Stroll’s rich doesn’t mean he hasn’t got some talent.

      1. @tflb Perhaps… but he’s had a much easier rise to the top than other less privelaged, perhaps more talented youngsters who never had the opportunity

        1. @swh1386 Yes that can’t be disputed – but he still wouldn’t have got where he is without natural talent.

        2. Much easier to get on top of things when daddy dearest can buy private testing sessions willy nilly. By my reckoning, with such advantages Stroll should be competing with the likes of Verstappen… but despite the rather massive financial “leg up”, he’s nowhere close.

  27. Finally. About fricking time. Unsurprising at the same time.

  28. While hardly unsurprising, one hoped that Kubica will get the nod. Not the most inspiring news this.

    Williams had to go for the best cost vs risk option, and this was Sirotkin. Williams are a corporate business, and have acted accordingly.

  29. BTW, on this day twelve months ago Bottas was confirmed at Mercedes following Rosberg’s sudden/surprising retirement from the sport. What a coincidence.

  30. Must be the worst line up in Williams’ history. I’d rank Sirotkin higher than Stroll, but I doubt he is capable of carrying the team, your average GP2/F2 driver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Williams once again sinks to the bottom of the field. Duelling with the STR-Honda’s, a wobbely Haas and captain slow Ericsson.

    I’m not the biggest fan of Wehrlein, but he deserved that spot. His eight place in Spain 2017 has shown he is above average.

  31. Must be tough for the team personnel to get properly motivated when the driver lineup is so uninspiring and obviously financially motivated…

    1. What, because they have drivers who are helping to pay their wages? They’re not volunteers. It’s a job.

  32. I think it’s a god lineup.

    Williams need a year or two under Paddy to get their car sorted out (it’s a dog compared to other Merc powered teams) and to stick a top driver in would just de-motivate the driver.

    With Kibica doing development work for them and a couple of “capable” drivers, maybe by the end of next year, they’ll be in a position to take advantage of the vacancies that will occur.

    The extra $ won’t hurt the development work either hopefully it won’t be wasted.

  33. It has seemed that this would be the driver line up for Williams in 2018 for a while and it has now been confirmed by the team.

    It is not a very convincing driver pairing, in fact it might even be the weakest driver line up on the 2018 grid, which is a sad state of affairs for a team with a history such as Williams.

    It may turn out that Stoll and/or Sirotkin go on to be great drivers with long and successful careers but in the here and now for 2018 it is not a pairing that fills me with confidence as a fan of Williams.

    Rating on talent will always be subjective but at the moment I wouldn’t rank the Williams duo higher than any of the other teams drivers for the season. I am not saying that I rank them both as 19th and 20th out of all twenty drivers, although there are probably some who might, but that as a pairing they rank 10th out ten. I think every other team has at least one driver who would outperform Stroll and Sirotkin if they were teammates this season.

    Stroll only has one year in F1, and apart from a couple of results, his podium in Azerbaijan and the wet qualifying at Monza, it was not an impressive debut season, and lets not forget he is still only 19.

    Sirotkin is a rookie, although he has had a few practice sessions in F1 previously, and while I don’t follow junior formula a quick scan at his results on Wikipedia does not suggest that he is going to be the next big thing.

    The only other team you might put in that unwanted position of weakest driver line up is Toro Rosso, I suppose you could argue that the Williams pairing is better in terms of pure F1 race experience as Stroll had a full season last year, whereas both Gasly and Hartley have only competed in a handful of Grand Prixs each at the end of last season.

    It is not just the performances the drivers deliver in qualifying and races which will hamper Williams compared with other teams but the lack of experience of the drivers, leading the team, delivering quality feedback and knowing which way to go on setup for example.

    If money were not an issue for Williams then I wouldn’t be surprised if neither Stroll or Sirotkin would be driving for them this year, you could possibly make a case for one of them being with the team in the role of a young prospect for the future alongside an experienced and proven driver, but definitely not both of them together

    For a midfield team to sign one of their drivers because of the money they bring to the team isn’t that big a surprise, but for both drivers to be there primarily because of the finances they bring with them is something you expect of a team at the back of the grid struggling for survival.

    The fifth place finish Williams secured in the 2017 Constructors championship was always going to be under threat from the likes of Renault and McLaren who should both be better this season, but with this driver line up I can see them dropping even further down the field no matter how good a car they produce.

    If that is the case, how much money will Williams loose due to a lower placing in the constructors championship?

  34. Two pay drivers. Probably will be 7th or 8th this year, or worse.
    Sirotkin appears to be decent, but he should be paired with a experienced driver, not with Stroll… Sad.

  35. The saving grace of this all is of course the hiring of Robert as their test driver. It’s absolutely vital that Williams have a decent benchmark laid down by an experienced driver (albeit recovering from a huge injury).

    The interesting battle won’t necessarily be between Stroll and Sergei, but between the two race drivers and Robert Kubica. If Robert ends up being faster than one of the drivers by the season’s end, Williams will be left with an interesting conundrum for their ’19 driver line-up.

    I’ve heard a few people say that Sergei is pretty quick, but ultimately inconsistant. Sounds far too much like a description of Lance Stroll to me. You ultimately have two fast (on their day) drivers, who will inevitably put it in to the barriers a few times over the course of the season.

    You just have that nagging sense that we won’t see the Paddy Lowe designed FW41 pushed to its limit in 2018.

    1. Well said, @ecwdanselby ! Comment of the day, perfectly concludes the whole thing, @keithcollantine

    2. @ecwdanselby how can Kubica provide a benchmark? Out of the sport for over 7 years, with a life-changing injury to boot. If he’d been convincing enough in the tests either Renault or Williams would have given him a seat – let’s not forget he’s not unfunded either. He would have been a pay-driver too. If anything he’ll be the one being judged by Stroll and Sirotkin’s benchmarks.

  36. Sirotkin could not ask for a better teammate, will be a a good 3 tenths faster on his debut i put money onit. I believe drivers like Hamilton and Alonso and Ves would be closer to Massa aged 15 that is how slow Stroll is.The qualifying gaps were downright embarassing his drive in Baku was embarassing also 3rd which should of been 10th. I mean imagine Massa was a early driver last year and we had no data he would of got a 40 mill year contract at a big team people would have looked at him as a future legend. That is how much a retiring driver embarassed Stroll. Stroll did not even get closer either to Massa as would be the norm.

    Sirotkin will have a good few years in F1 now, all because he is faster than Stroll. I believe i could get within 5 tenths of stroll over a years F1 practise, i am certainly far fitter than the guy who can barely hold the wheel straight.

  37. a$ €xp€ct€d Wi££iam$ announc€$ £anc€ $tro££ and $erg€i $irotkin

    1. as* expected* Williams* announces* Lance* Stroll* Sergei* Sirotkin*

  38. Hope Williams crash and burn this season.

    Replacing Massa with Sirotkin is a joke.

    1. this comment is a joke.

      are you alright in the head? wishing them to crash and burn because of sirotkin? go and take a time out

  39. After Senna, Hill, Coulthard, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Ralf, Montoya, Webber, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Barrichello, Bottas, Massa, I can’t help but think:

    1. You missed Zanardi, Indycar Champion.

      1. Right, but unfortunately he was bit of a let down during his stint with the team.

  40. Such a shame for a team like williams to have a pair of driver like this… I hope they finish last with a decent car, hopefully that will teach them something.

    1. @pyon So nice to see a lack of bitterness in these comments.

  41. Now go and sell some boose for the Russian Market…go make them all alcoholics…

    Williams now have the worst drivers on the grid.. why didn’t they take KVY or WER – maybe GRO or perhaps MAG… everything would be better..

  42. I feel like the general opinion lingers from when he was announced as a Sauber driver a few years back when, quite rightly, the consensus was that he was nowhere near ready for F1. But he’s had a few years racing elsewhere and he’s formed into a fairly solid talent. Perhaps he’s not the exciting prospect that Charles Leclerc is, but he’s no Haryanto or Ericsson. He’s worth a shot – I would certainly have chosen him over Di Resta or Kvyat.

    Like most people though, I’m gutted we won’t see Kubica racing (yet). But let’s take all the romanticism out of it and take a sensible pill for a minute – Schumacher never came close to his old form upon his comeback, and that was after 3 years out. Kubica has seven years of minimal circuit racing and has a life-changing injury to contend with. As wonderful as it would have been for him to be back on the pace immediately, it’s naive to think that he would be back to his old self after a smattering of tests, often in outdated cars.

    So perhaps giving him the reserve role, with some Friday running, is the best option for Kubica. A season travelling with the F1 circus and a few Friday cameos, where he first made a name for himself all those years ago, is a great chance to prove himself on a race weekend. That’s still plenty to get excited about.

    Having said that, it does feel a little cruel of Williams to tease us like this. I might also add that I firmly expect Sergey to bring home the lions share of Williams points this season.

    1. I like your sentiment, but it’s unlikely even with more testing Kubica will get faster. Injuries of the type he has just don’t work that way.

  43. Williams obviously have their reasons and not seeing what Sirotkin can really do, lets wait and see. But got to say, im worried for Williams.

  44. On paper, weakest pairing on the grid?

  45. To me this announcement says more about the ‘lack’ of confidence (in the competitiveness) of Williams and their ‘package’ for the upcoming season… even before it’s turned a wheel in anger.

    1. The bonus (of this driver pairing) being that it will give them a host of additional (excuses) reasons why they failed to deliver during ’18…again.

  46. Let me just bring here one fact (they didn’t mention that in his Wiki page) that Sirotkin in 2017 graduated from Moscow Automobile and Road Constraction State Techinical University and his degree work had a title “Organization of works in set-up of racing cars by example of a F1 car.” In my view that says something about the quality of a feedback Williams can expect from the guy. I think they have taken it into cosideration while evaluating their options because they definitely got that kind of feedback during tests.

  47. Weakest driver pairing on the grid. Williams’ mini-revival is well and truly over. Once the Martini contract expires, I wouldn’t expect it to be renewed.

  48. I think we must wait and see. Perhaps Sirotkin is a good choice.

  49. @tflb
    well, i keep mentioning Massa for a reason. a good reason, i hope.He may be older as a driver, a long career behind him, true.. But he still has more talent in his little finger than those paydrivers have in their whole bodies. and he proved it by being a whole second faster in Abu Dabi. That should have made Smedley scratch his head.And i think if Massa had been treated with the respect he deserves by Williams, he would not have retired at at all for the 2018 season. He gave an interview where he said he was prepared to stay only if he felt wanted. He delivered a final warning when he said that if he did not know his future by the time his home race at Interlagos came around, he would consider his alternatives. He has been clear enough, i think. But it is Williams who have been fishing in murky waters. They were considering hiring another paydriver, who is not exceptional,and a man they had reasonable doubts about if he could drive at say, Monaco. While they were actually slower. And the reason? Pecunia non olet… So those were the reasons for my post, no disrespect to you.

  50. Well. Everything must come to an end.

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