2018 Williams Racing driver Sergey Sirotkin has been given an opportunity to test for Audi in their DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters/German Touring Cars) car at Jerez in southern Spain.
The Russian will test alongside Mattia Drudi, Benoit Treluyer, Frederic Vervisch, Andreas Bakkerud, Jonathan Aberdein and Sacha Fenestraz with a view to driving for the German marque in the 2019 DTM campaign.
None of Sirotkin’s competition for the drive have anything like the top level experience he’s gained whilst in F1 and en-route to his sole season with Williams, with 40+ races in GP2, a season as test driver for Sauber in F1 and a year as Renault’s reserve driver to add to his 21 Formula 1 starts.
Sirotkin scored a solitary point in a season in Formula 1 in which he struggled with a truly uncompetitive Williams FW41 that gave Williams their worst ever season.
It is thought that Sirotkin’s backers SMP Racing sought to engineer a cut-price deal with Williams to allow the Russian a second season with the Grove team given their disappointing performance in 2018, and that this allowed an opening for Robert Kubica to find himself a sponsor with the required funds, securing himself the second Williams alongside Britain’s George Russell.
Despite finishing stone last in the F1 drivers table in 2018, Sirotkin did a very respectable job in a car that reserve driver Kubica described as ‘hard to drive’.
He outqualified his more experienced team-mate Lance Stroll over the course of the F1 season, and qualifying is widely considered a better indicator of raw speed than points scored.
So while Sirotkin picked up five fewer points than Stroll, he can consider himself unlucky not to have landed a drive in F1 for 2019, when Stroll will make the step up (based on the results of the last couple of seasons at least!) to Racing Point Force India.
(It must be noted that in order to get himself a foot in the door at Racing Point Force India, his Dad had to buy the team, so perhaps it’s he who should consider himself fortunate rather than Sergey thinking the opposite!)
DTM in 2018 featured a number of ex-F1 stars including former Williams driver Paul Di Resta, Timo Glock and Pascal Wehrlein.
A number of DTM drivers have gone on to compete in Formula 1, including Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella & Juan Pablo Montoya.
So Sergey would be forgiven for not giving up on his F1 dream just yet.