As Williams confirm Robert Kubica will return to Formula 1 to drive one of their Williams FW42s in the 2019 F1 World Championship, Sergey Sirotkin’s backers have spoken of the reasons why their driver finds himself without a drive for next year.
SMP Racing, who provided Sirotkin with the funds to secure him a seat in the Williams for 2018, claim that it was their decision to remove their funding, and therefore Sirotkin, from the Williams Team as a result of “the team’s performance level at the start of the season” and because the car’s development rate “turned out to be not high enough”.
Sirotkin chose to leave Williams.
Whether or not, like a scorned teenager being dumped by his girlfriend boasting to his pals that he was the one who ended the relationship, or whether Sirotkin was actually given the option to partner Russell in 2019, probably only a handful of people know.
It may not even have been quite as straightforward as:
‘Do you want to drive for us in 2019? No thanks’.
There are all sorts of financial wranglings that go into a deal like this that might make both parties correct in claiming it to be their decision.
Either way, I hope Sirotkin goes on to have a long and successful career in whichever series he chooses to try his hand at next.
The job he did at Williams this year was an admirable one.
The fundamental issues that Williams found on their FW41 meant that the car was the worst on the grid by a country mile.
And despite scoring a solitary point compared with his team-mate Stroll’s six, Sirotkin (in his first season in F1 let’s not forget) spent most Grand Prix within a place or two of his more experienced team-mate and has outqualified him 11/8: often a truer indicator of raw speed.
Taking to Twitter to confirm his Williams departure, Sirotkin said:
“It was a very long and difficult year, and not everything turned out the way I wanted it to.”
“But I kept working, put all my effort and my soul into achieving the merited results.”
“And, to be honest, I believe that given the circumstances we have done a respectable job.”