Williams has confirmed it will run both Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin alongside Lance Stroll during the Pirelli tire test in Abu Dhabi next week.
The two-day test is taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with all 10 teams participating as an opportunity to carry out initial running on the 2018 tires.
Having already evaluated Kubica in a 2014 car ahead of a potential deal to race for the team next season, Williams has now confirmed the Pole will get the opportunity to drive its current car on Tuesday morning of the test before handing over to regular driver Stroll in the afternoon. On Wednesday, a similar program will be followed, with Sirotkin (below) – who has been part of Renault’s driver line-up all year – carrying out running in the morning and early afternoon before Kubica takes over late in the second day.
“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli,” Williams stated when making the announcement. “Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tires across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”
Williams has yet to confirm its driver line-up for next season beyond Stroll retaining his seat, with Felipe Massa announcing earlier this month that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his last before retiring from the F1.
Kubica is understood to be a front-runner for Massa’s seat having missed out on a drive with Renault this season, while Mercedes youngster Pascal Wehrlein has also been linked with Williams. However, the emergence of Sirotkin adds a new name to the mix, with the Russian having previously been involved with Renault and carried out FP1 runs for the team over the past two seasons.
Opportunities for Kubica and Sirotkin at Renault were closed off when the team replaced Jolyon Palmer with Carlos Sainz ahead of the United States Grand Prix, with Sainz already confirmed to be partnering Nico Hulkenberg next season.