Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says the team carried out a “rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process” before naming Sergey Sirotkin as Lance Stroll’s teammate.
Sirotkin will make his Formula 1 debut in Melbourne this year having only previously carried out testing duties and Friday practice running for Renault and Sauber. With the Russian beating Robert Kubica to the seat, Lowe says there was more to Sirotkin’s selection than just an impressive performance during the Abu Dhabi tire test at the end of last year.
We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process,” Lowe said. “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. I’m delighted he will be joining the team to partner Lance next season.
“Lance will be going into his second season with us, after notable achievements in his rookie year. We have an exciting line-up for 2018 which we believe will help us to maximize the potential of the FW41.”
Stroll himself added his thoughts on Sirotkin’s arrival while himself preparing for just his second season of racing in Formula 1 at the age of 19.
“First of all I would like to welcome Sergey to Williams and I am looking forward to having him as my teammate,” Stroll said. “I know Sergey and I am sure we will very quickly form a close working relationship.
“I really enjoyed my rookie season with the team, and there were a number of memorable highlights, on which I’ll look to build on in the coming season. I’m looking forward to Barcelona, and driving the new FW41 for the first time.”
Williams will have the youngest driver line-up on the grid in 2018, with Sirotkin and Stroll having a combined age of 41.