Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 2018

Why Williams expects long-term benefits from hiring Sirotkin

2018 F1 season

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The news Williams has chosen Sergey Sirotkin for the final seat on the 2018 grid was widely expected.

The positive development for Sirotkin inevitably comes as a disappointment to Robert Kubica and his many passionate supporters. Many of them hoped to see him make return to F1 competition seven years on from the rally crash which maimed him.

It’s the second time in four months a fairytale return for Kubica has failed to materialise. Last year after several tests with Renault Kubica was passed over in favour of Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Sainz could not reasonably be said to lack the experience and the credentials to deserve the place Kubica missed out on. But it’s harder to make that argument for Sirotkin.

Williams’s newest driver has some practice and test experience but is still a rookie. His record in the junior championships is decent (he’s no Sean Gelael) but not exceptional (he’s no Charles Leclerc).

Sergey Sirotkin, Fortec, Jerez, 2014
SMP Racing backs Sirotkin
But Sirotkin brings significant financial backing from Russian bank SMP. The logos of their driver development programme SMP Racing have been prominent on Sirotkin’s overalls and cars throughout his career.

Williams certainly need the income and F1 Fanatic understands that proved decisive. Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe, who became a shareholder when he returned to the team last March, strongly favoured appointing Sirotkin, a move he expects will bring long-term benefits for the team.

Since the Yas Marina at the end of last year much ink has been spilled assessing which driver was quickest. Kubica lapped half a second faster than Sirotkin but on tyres which were three stages softer. Given how little we know of variables such as fuel loads, set-ups, tracks conditions and so on, it’s far from a useful basis for comparison, but one which appears to indicate Sirotkin gave little away to Kubica in terms of lap time, if anything.

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If by investing this new line of income from Sirotkin into car development Lowe can find a lap time gain on the FW41 – and, crucially, its successors – the decision to go with him instead of Kubica becomes clear.

Williams has had F1’s best power unit for the past four seasons but has gradually declined in competitiveness. That indicates everything they can throw at the chassis would be money well spent.

Besides which, the door isn’t closed to Kubica. He will continue to drive for the team in tests and practice sessions and Williams say he will “be available to stand in as the race driver if required”.

Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson, IndyCar, Sebring, 2016
Sanctions kept SMP-backed Aleshin from racing in America
Will such an opportunity arise? Those who’ve paid attention to the rising prominence of Russian drivers in motor sport will recall the problems which kept SMP-backed driver Mikhail Aleshin from his IndyCar seat for most of 2015.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea the year before several prominent supporters of Russian president Vladimir Putin were subject to sanctions. They included SMP bank co-founder Boris Rotenberg.

Williams is a listed company and its reporting obligations means Sirotkin’s link to Rotenberg will have been discussed and approved at board level. Note that while the US imposed sanctions on Boris Rotenberg the European Union did not (his brother did appear on the EU list), so in a similar case this would not necessarily affect Sirotkin’s position.

Nonetheless, the team has a driver waiting in the wings if they need one. And, unlike when Paul di Resta took over Felipe Massa’s car at the Hungaroring last year, he will already be familiar with their current chassis.

Passing up on the chance to bring Kubica back in favour of adding a second well-funded driver to their roster is not the fairytale story many hoped for. But Williams isn’t the first team to spend its money on the car rather than the driver.

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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44 comments on “Why Williams expects long-term benefits from hiring Sirotkin”

  1. This debate and argument surrounding the final Williams drive is decisive purely on emotion. If we take away the names and the emotion behind certain drivers then it is clear which driver makes the most sense. If driver X is as quick, or if in fact quicker, than driver Z then he should get the drive. If driver X is as quick, or if in fact quicker, than driver Z AND can bring in more sponsorship money then he gets the drive. If driver X is as quick, or if in fact quicker, than driver Z AND can bring in more sponsorship money AND he is younger AND no question marks over physical fitness and mobility then he gets the drive. Watching and following Kubica come back from near death to driving a F1 car is inspirational to all but if he hasn’t got what it takes (in regards to both speed and physical) than Williams have made the right decision.

    1. Damn it, I got emotionally attached to driver X

    2. I think this is a bit oversimplified. Kubica was apparently better on long runs while Sirotkin was quicker on single laps, so there is no such a thing as X faster than Z. But remember that other things also matter such as driver experience, and this is really important for the engineers; not only an experienced driver who knows how to give feedback will certainly improve the car setup of both cars but will also help a lot more with the car development throughout a season. Also, because of limited track time, we could argue that Kubica would still improve his single lap pace if given more time to readjust to the car. Having two rookies on their 20s is really not a dream team for anyone.

      1. If Williams ever release the data (which I doubt they will) then we could deduce which was quicker but we unfortunately we don’t have the actual data just interpretations of data (which I have been guilty of using). Driver experience, I agree, is vital but whilst Kubica is clearly the most experienced we don’t fully know how good Sirotkin could actually be at setting up a car and giving feedback. It may be telling that Kubica is now the 3rd/Sim/Development driver to overcome this downfall. It may be easier to have the quicker driver (debatable) driving the car and having the the experienced guy doing bits of development etc. Kubica over time ‘could’ improve his single lap pace but conversely we could argue that Sirotkin could improve his long-runs (which is possibly harder to do). Having two rookies is never the best option I totally agree but if one of the rookies is quicker than the experienced guy then it makes sense. Arguably, do you believe Kubica could be deemed a rookie? He has experience, raced before etc, but his years out mean he has less single seater experience and racing experience than Sirotkin. Interesting nonetheless.

        1. @ryandixon, Mark Hughes, over at Motorsport Magazine, has claimed that Sirotkin’s technical knowledge is fairly strong, suggesting that Kubica’s advantage in that field might not have been as great as some might assume it is.

          In terms of performance, he also noted that Sirotkin had been showing a trend of progressively improving his performance over the length of each test as well – so Sirotkin was showing that he was capable of making improvements in his performance over time.

          1. If that is the case then the arguement for picking Kubica is somewhat nullified. My thinking is that Sirotkin has time on his hands to become better, possibly under the tutorage of Kubica, whilst Kubica has only a few seasons to come back, get up to speed, and potentially hit a plateau of performance. Then again Mark Hughes could be wrong about Sirotkin but we have no way of validating his claims. This is not to suggest I am outing Mark for terrible journalism that is far from the case but with this Williams drive situation we place huge leaps of faith in what other people claim to have seen, heard, read because Williams won’t/can’t realise data.

          2. Faryrales. $$ is just money, do not hope for more.

      2. Stuart Becktell (@)
        17th January 2018, 15:28

        Everything I heard about speed was the opposite. Kubica was faster on single laps, but Sirotkin was faster overall.

      3. Mark in Florida
        17th January 2018, 17:16

        How do we know that they ever had a true head to head comparison? They knew all along who had the most money and could have set Kubicas car up a little slower to justify their choice in the end. It’s all dirty politics in the end.

        1. It would be in nobodies interest to not make it a true head to head? If it were money they were after they could of announced it months ago and built up a good PR folder. Yes, placing Kubica in a car is good publicity but running, maintain, staffing and insurance would cost the team more. To change an entire car’s set up to make one driver slower would serve no purpose whatsoever.

    3. @ryandixon

      Finally some sense. COTD right there.

    4. I think the saddest part is the fact that the set of drivers under consideration to partner Stroll were Sirotkin, Kubica, Di Resta and possibly Kyvat. That is overall a **very** underwhelming set of drivers to consider – clearly Kubica was a star in his day but unfortunately it’s an unknown quantity now).

      As a midfield team Williams should consistently be looking at either signing up hot prospects that have a chance of becoming stars (Bottas, Rosberg) or people moving on from bigger teams but still with enough pace (Massa in 2014, to some extent Barrichello in 2010).

      If they don’t have the money they need to think about their business model more broadly, not get underwhelming drivers to come and bring money with the hope of building a better car. That is not a sustainable strategy. They have done this in the past when they got Maldonado and Senna, and actually happened to build a half-decent car, but that hasn’t translated in a sustainable improvement in performance in subsequent year (2013 was bad, 2014 was good and has been downhill since then).

      I get what they are doing now, they’re probably thinking that with the best possible set of drivers they would finish 4th (most likely 5th), and with this set of drivers they will finish 7th worst case (because Sauber, Toro Rosso and Haas will be behind them for different reasons). So if they take the drivers money and finish 7th, it may be financially better than finishing 5th and having more expensive drivers. But this is essentially short-term thinking and they’ll need to keep doing this on and on again. It’s bonkers to think they are going to break out of this spiral.

      1. I wouldn’t and couldn’t possible comment on the state of Williams finances as I don’t have any available data. However, if there is an option to take more money you will always, or at the very least the majority of the time, take the larger ammount of money. It just so happens the money is tied to a state which is often viewed (for differing reasons rightfully and wrongfully) as a ‘bad’ state and to a driver that hasn’t exactly set the world alight in his brief career so far and a driver that was competing against a respected former driver and well liked personality. If the business model is to take as much money as they can from the drivers rather than through competition money then that is their business decision. I would like to think all drivers are there for the competition but every single driver on the grid brings money to the table in one form or another (either by ‘active’ sponsors such as Sirotkin or ‘passive’ such as Hamilton). I get the feeling that Williams would never build a bad car (unintentially) and then bulk out the bank balance with pay drivers in as much as they wouldn’t let somebody drive the best car for free. Mentioning Massa and Rubens is interesting as they seemingly almost fell onto Williams’ lap. The lack of movement up front might of harmed the search for a driver but considering realistically only Kimi would/could be available (worth mentioning the often overlooked negative points to him) it means Rubens and Massa can be seen as exceptions to the rule.

        As for the drivers involved in the fight for this seat you have to admit (and be happily proved wrong) that it would be a long shot if there were to be a multiple race winner between the lot of them going forward. The quality available was not at Williams’ advantage and perhaps criticism should be aimed at them for not sorting this out earlier given that everyman and his dog knew this would be Massa’s last season and this could of helped searching and fighting for a better caliber driver. Signing a rising star is difficult. Williams couldn’t go out and pluck one right now. The two best talents who were/are rising stars ar Leclerc and Max V who are Ferrari and Red Bull affiliated. Possibly Leclerc could of been poached but that would be a battle not worth fighting (given Ferrari and Sauber’s new relationship).

        It could be seen as short-term thinking but I see it as being the opposite. Within their driver line up they have two young drivers who will be around for possibly another decade. These two drivers happen to have a big walllet attached to them which as long as they are paying it back via performances and PR opportunities will supply Williams with a good bottom line for the next few years. As much as Stroll and Sirotkin will never be World Champions (again, would loved to be proved wrong) in their possesion they have two capable young drivers who on their day could do something special (remember in the bumper car race in Baku Stroll had a good chance to win). It may be short-term in that they haven’t gained a driver that could drag them forward (before falling out of love or pushing for a move away, for example if they moved for Alonso) but they have two drivers that can possibly/will help the team develop and improve in the long run.

    5. @ryandixon I couldn’t agree more with you. +1.

  2. The most frustrating thing for me, it is not the fact that they went with Sirotkin over Kubica, it is their complete willingness to search for other talented drivers.

    In GP2, Sirotkin finished P3 in his two seasons there, the guys that finished in front of him, two are now in F1 (Vandoorne and Gasly) the other two, one races in Indycar (Rossi) and the other is without a drive (Giovanazzi). While I see the problems of trying to go with Giovanazzi, at least they could have prospected Rossi as well. Yes not the most interesting story line, but a driver that has proven to be arguably a better choice.

    And this are only the drivers that raced against Sirotkin and came out on top. Plenty of talent around in other series as well. Even Wherlein I feel would be a better choice. FE as some guys that were overlooked and haven’t had a chance in F1.

    Of course I will get the answer, that is also implied on the article, Williams wants the money to invest in car development. But is that worth it? How useful it is to have the best car on the grid if the drivers aren’t able to put it where it should be? Look at how well Force India is doing, they have overtaken Williams clearly, logic tells me that that is the model to follow, isn’t it?

    Here is to Sirotkin/Stroll to prove me wrong and make me eat this beautiful paragraph, maybe when they are a bit more seasoned (see what I did there?)

    1. I would think that any driver, pay or not, who can get to the point of being hired as a driver for an F1 team, can do wonders with the best car on the grid. Don’t most people believe it is about 80% the car? And just look at the opposite side of the coin. What has what some would argue the best driver on the grid, Alonso, been able to do with a dog for a car? Yes at this particular point for Williams it is more about developing and improving the car. It is not, or to me shouldn’t be, about a rivalry between the drivers on the team, although of course comparisons will always be made. Both drivers need to work together, along with Kubica, to advance the car.

      1. Let’s say it is 80% for the car. Don’t you think in that tight midfield the other 20% will be crucial?

    2. @johnmilk On the Rossi front – he was much more experienced in GP2 in 2015, I think it’s fair to say that Sirotkin was more impressive as a rookie in a not-great team. TBH I don’t see many better options for teams looking for a young promising driver than Sirotkin. People have been mentioning Sam Bird, Lucas Di Grassi, Buemi etc…. to them I say get real and take your Sirotkinophobic glasses off, those drivers have either had their chance, or were never as impressive in their earlier careers as Sirotkin has been.

      Also a word of caution for those claiming Sirotkin is rubbish because he didn’t demolish the field in GP2 – take a look at Kubica’s pre-F1 career. Yes, he won FR3.5, but against a spectacularly weak field. In F3 etc, he was thoroughly average. So maybe give Sirotkin a chance, and he might do better than expected in F1 as well.

      1. @tflb hence my last sentence

        I won’t agree with you however that there aren’t more promising drivers out there

    3. Gavin Campbell
      17th January 2018, 17:49

      Giovanssi is tied to Ferrari and is looking to follow that route into Sauber. Rossi is getting too much money behind him now has a Indy500 winner and also winning a second race last season. He knows if he stays and continues to win races he should be able to make a run at the championship. Any talk of him wanting to go back to F1 would only be real if one of the top teams courted him for a place which would give him a realistic chance of podiums and victories. Williams currently cannot offer this.

      Therefore there aren’t too many other Rookies out there and as for experience they really only have Kyvatt with recent driving experience. Di Resta had one quick race run but aside from that has been in DTM for last number of seasons and Kubica has been out for seven years – its very difficult for drivers to go away and come back to F1 its been tried so many times.

      Thus what are you left with? If Sirotkin was in and around Kubica with a healthy pay check coming along with him you’d go for him. Sirotkin will improve with a season of racing under his belt – you’d be less sure how much Kubica will improve from his present state.

  3. By long term benefits, they mean tons of Putin cash.

    1. They mean to develop a good car for 2019 with the hiring of another driver, like Perez or Occon because they wouldn’t fit in a same team…

      1. @jeanrien Ocon will go to Mercedes in 2019, so he won’t be an option.. And with Raikkonen retiring, Ricciardo will transfer to Ferrari. Sainz will move to Red Bull, which follows in Perez moving to Renault..

        Just a wild prediction.. :)

        1. @jesperfey13 in any way they should be some movement on the driver market and some new possibilities for Williams in case they need it after this season…
          I didn’t pick the best example but I get the feeling they would never end up with a great line up this year being the last to pick and that might change next year.

  4. I find it strange that Sirotkin’s test chance came out of the blue. What would Williams have done if he had stayed at Renault? I don’t think any other driver linked to Williams brought sponsorship with them, except for Kubica – who apparently offered half of the money Sirotkin brings.

    Did Williams expect too much from Kubica? As well as his life-changing injuries, before 2017, he had not driven a single-seater since early 2011. Yes, he did two tests in a 2012 Lotus and 2014 Williams on demo tyres, but that means little compared to 2017 cars.

    Sirotkin had been driving single-seaters during that time, 2 years on Pirelli tyres (not F1-spec tyres, but I’m sure it helps) in GP2, as well as in-season tests and FP1s for Rwnault in 2016 and 2017. He is very quick, and had been race-ready for a good while.

    In terms of current F1 machinery, before the Abu Dhabi test, Kubica had a one-day test in a 2017 Renault. Coupled with a day and a half at Abu Dhabi, was it naive of Williams to expect Kubica’s qualifying pace to be a match for Sirotkin?

    1. Very True, remember how long it has taken some other return drivers to find the groove.

      Alain, Nigel, Michael and even Kimi all lacked qualy pace on returns. And no offence to Robert he isn’t in their league

      1. You are right, Kubica is better than Kimi in F1 and rallying, and Kubica drove better than Kimi, Michael and the rest of F1 in 2010.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    17th January 2018, 12:05

    This all suggest to me they I know they don’t have a good car this year so will invest the money to improve it for next year rather than have Kubica struggle in a poor car that would ultimately be unpopular with fans.

    1. True but I’m not sure Kubica and fans have time to wait for a good car from Williams nor any other team such that he wouldn’t appear to struggle. As in, I don’t see a top team hiring him, so if he does land a ride it will be in a lesser car and there will be struggles.

  6. Given how little we know of variables such as fuel loads, set-ups, tracks conditions and so on, it’s far from a useful basis for comparison

    If Mark Hughes ever internalises the simple yet decisive message of that sentence, I might be able to read his lap time ‘analyses’ one day without feeling the irresistible urge to roll my eyes and assume the exact opposite of what he concludes to be true.
    But I’m not counting on it.

    Now for something completely different, namely the financial aspect of hiring drivers with a promising monetary background:
    I think most F1 fanatics have reached the same conclusion as I did, i.e. that Lance Stroll’s points tally in 2017 was actually extremely flattering and not really representative of his performances. More than half of his points he scored in races where his pace wasn’t good enough to score more than a couple of, if any, points. Coincidentally, in both these races, his team mate was taken out of contention by technical issues. Had these issues occurred on Stroll’s car, he would’ve ended the season with just 17 points.
    So, what if the 2018 Williams is just as competitive as its predecessor, but Stroll performs on exactly the level as last year, but fails to massively super über luck out like he did in Baku and Mexico? And what if Sirotkin doesn’t perform any better than him? The possibility of Williams scoring no more 30-40 points, despite having a similarly competitive car as last season, is very real. But instead of finishing 5th in the CWC, they could end up 8th or 9th. And that might end up costing them more than the financial contributions of Stroll and Sirotkin can compensate.

  7. What an subjective article.

    If he was quick enough he wouldn’t get sidetracked for a racing spot by Renault (notice how quick everyone went into other defences when Renault side-tracked him as Renault is an works team) AND Williams after testing with both and the biggest newspaper of the continent would’ve not leaked he was not quick enough.
    But let’s just assume the fact nobody wants to accept; what if the significantly slower, fan favourite would get the seat?
    Quick calculation for you from 2017 estimates;

    The F1 teams get $900m from Liberty’s $1,8 billion.
    The teams all get a $43m equal payment if they competed for 2 of the last 3 seasons in F1.
    Then strategy group (minus FI) receives their bonus payments – the Big 3 for their constructors championships – ranging from $80m for RBR to $21m for Ferrari with Mercedes and Williams at $30m for older historic results.
    On top of that a payment based on performance from the previous year which makes the total in a year ~$200 for Ferrari to ~40 for Sauber.

    Now, gain knowledge of the trends;
    For 2 years now there won’t be an 11th team.
    The difference between Williams in price money in % and the rest will get bigger.
    Haas was excluded in payments ~50% of the payments for 2017 for the 2/3 season participation rule, now they’ll be contending as well.
    Ferrari, just for being Ferrari receive at least an additional $68m to $90m
    McLaren is expected to be at least a solid midfielder, if Williams can’t improve just as everybody is… ”hoping” with Stroll. even Honda will overtake them as they now have the benefit of having an developing engine just for themselves.
    Renault will gain even more pace with two solid drivers.

    Williams has received less then ~$180 million in the last two years alone then the big 3, even McLaren(!) with that 9th place received more. What if Williams would’ve followed the crowd and got Kubica and he just actually needs time or can’t adapt any more to modern day cars, like for example Kimi? And let’s take the most fair odds = McLaren and Renault jump Williams in the constructors (which is fair based on the historical fact that in this part of a engine-era engine-performances will come closer = that is 20 million alone lost in the coming season just for choosing Kubica.
    And these numbers are from an article from Dieter himself, use your search engine.

    So the core problem here is that Williams and Renault both realized he would not gain enough in performance to bridge that gap in prize money for them (20, 30 points better then Stroll), or bluntly said; he was too slow to risk giving him the seat compared to Sirotkin.
    Especially for an works team with Renault how more telling do people need? (the answer is none as people will argue until they’re six feet under but sure).
    So this whole commotion is rather ridiculous in my opinion.

    1. Your comment is even more subjective! A lot of what if.

      Thing is, we really don’t know for sure how fast either Sirotkin or Kubica (or for that matter Massa and Stroll) are. And we don’t know how good (or bad) the Williams will be.

      We do know that Sirotkin is a decent driver who has earned his point to get a superlicence. And we know he comes with substantial backing from Russia, money that will help the team be able to develop. When you bring in Renault, i start to be very sceptical about your view though. Remember, they ALSO had Sirotkin as a third/test/whatever driver in their stable, so they too would have been able to compare.

      Now Renault clearly chose Sainz over Kubica (and over Sirotkin), because he has more recent race experience, is seen as potentially as good as Kubica and was in that sense a more secure bet to get points. Had he not been available, maybe they would have gone with Kubica. Maybe not. We just don’t know.
      But they never considered Sirotkin, and they do know him, he has been in their simulator and they know he can bring money. So if they would think he would be the better choice, they might not even have tested Kubica.

      Ultimately, this choice was one between a decent rooky who can grow and with a lot of money and betting on Kubica really being ready and bringing a decent amount of money too. It means less money to develop (clearly where their biggest issue lies) AND a gamble on how good Kubica can perform.

      1. Renault do a brilliant job. They develop their cars to win with other teams and they also make the other team weaker. They took Sainz from Toro Rosso, now they put Sirotkin in Williams. Yes Williams give Kubica more time to colect money because he was slower than Sirotkin….. And Sirotkin has to pay 20mln $ because he was faster than Kubica. When you analize Abu Zabi test time he Was even faster than Lewis Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen…. What a shame that Renault loose such a diamond driver……. Nice fairy tale……. we will see everything during GP weekends….

  8. I don’t see a problem with Sirotkin as a Williams driver per se, the problem is that their final lineup is made up of two inexperienced drivers, both of whom will likely be horridly inconsistent. I was under the impression that they had decided not to go down that route again when they signed Massa to replace Maldonado a few years ago but it now appears I was wrong. I think this is very disappointing if you are a Williams supporter.

  9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    17th January 2018, 13:54

    Williams should have kept Massa – they don’t know if his performance with the current car was normal or spectacular. If it’s normal, then it means that Stroll is over 1 second slower than Massa.

    They should have replaced Stroll and gone with Sainz or Wehrlein.

    Here are the scenarios for next year:
    Stroll is quicker than Sirotkin – unlikely but that means they are both 1-2 seconds off pace.
    They are both equally fast – most likely they are both 1 second off pace
    Sirotkin is 0.5 seconds faster than Stroll – he’s still 0.5 seconds off Massa’s pace
    Sirotkin is 1 second faster than Stroll – at least he’s as quick as Massa
    Sirotkin is over 1 second faster than Stroll – they made the right choice but they still don’t know if he’s one of the fastest.

    The final one is that Stroll improves in qualifying but I doubt we’ll see a 1 second improvement.

  10. paydrivers will do Williams no good whatsoever. Fact is; Felipe Massa was the fastest of the whole bunch in AbuDabi.
    they should have kept him, imo. Stroll proved that he was too slow, he just got very lucky once or twice. There is no hope that Sirotkin will get luckier, or faster. With only 20 places on the grid, there is no place for paydrivers. Just my two cents.

    1. @jacob Massa had already decided to retire, no point mentioning him. Also Kubica would also have been a pay driver… Stroll did have some genuinely good performances in the races, he’s not as hopeless as you make him out to be. No hope Sirotkin will get faster? Well, you could say the same about Kubica. And at least give Sirotkin a chance.

  11. Williams should follow the model of Force India, which has become the best of the rest.

  12. Passing up on the chance to bring Kubica back in favour of adding a second well-funded driver to their roster is not the fairytale story many hoped for. But Williams isn’t the first team to spend its money on the car rather than the driver.

    So true!
    But doesn’t that ‘fairytale story’ have a monetary value as well? I would not be surprised if the extra media coverage a Kubica hiring would generate to be worth more than $7m (the alleged difference between the Sirotkin and Kubica financial backing)!

  13. @Keith Collantine.
    Hello, I’m Polish, naturally Kubica fan, but not found myself as a fanboy, but anyway, the outcome puts me dissapointed, despite my previous reservation regarding whole Kubica return. Bacause of Villeneuve’s and Schumacher’s speed issue after their comeback, I was wondering hard, how Kubica’s speed would look like, despite whole fitness/hand issue saga. But despite above calm rationality currently I’m quite sad and empty.
    You state “Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe, who became a shareholder when he returned to the team last March, strongly favoured appointing Sirotkin, a move he expects will bring long-term benefits for the team”. Can you expand this one a bit more, please, as whole Polish professional pro F1 media, suggested Lowe was supporting Kubica idea, as 2nd driver. I’m interested in your perspective.
    Thank you.

  14. I might be able to give u a quick answer: Paddy came from Mercedes to make williams great again. He knows he needs at least 2 or 3 years to do it. So when the test in abu dhabi was scheduled kubica was his favourite – he brings money, he will attract sponsors and he has experience. I bet sirotkin was there just to be sure kubica is good enough. But then sirotkin surprised with performance and he suddenly had double the money robert could offer.

    Or it could be just that Paddy’s wife is russian and he srewed up somewhere))

  15. Nonsense like this is just ridiculous:

    But Williams isn’t the first team to spend its money on the car rather than the driver.

    Kubica was at the same pace as Palmer during the Renault try-outs and he was a lot slower than Sirotkin during his Williams try-outs. Why on earth do people still pretend Kubica was not picked because of money?

    In fact the only reason Williams seemed interested in Kubica after Renault dropped him, was because of the money Kubica was bringing. Claimed to be between 8 and 10 million. So he would be a pay driver too.

    It’s not a “fairytale comeback”, because he simply isn’t fast enough. To be honest he wasn’t faster than Heidfeld even in his “glory days”.

  16. I’d like to mention again that Sirotkin graduated from a technical university in Moscow last year and his degree work was titled “Organization of works in set-up of racing cars by example of F1 car”. His knowledge and understanding of the subject impressed Williams. Sirotkin’s dad said such a profound feedback at tests was hardly ever given by rookies. Of course it is his dad but you know, but there is a ground for his praise.

  17. I’m not sad Kubica wasn’t chosen. I reckoned Daniil Kvyat was the better option. With a change of environment he could have been back to his best.

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