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Williams delays driver announcement until January

  • Published on 15 Dec 2017 17:15
  • comments 16
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Williams has confirmed that it will not announce its 2018 driver line-up until January. The Grove-based team is searching for Felipe Massa's replacement, with Sergey Sirotkin and Robert Kubica appearing to be the two contenders.

Kubica has been targeting an F1 comeback since his life-threatening rally accident in 2011. After dropping out of contention with Renault earlier this year, the Pole focused on the Williams drive, testing the car at the post-season Abu Dhabi test.

However following that test, it emerged that Sirotkin, who also took part in the test, was the leading candidate for the drive. Williams has claimed that its line-up decision will be based purely on performance, despite Massa stating the team were looking at the financial aspect.

It is rumoured that Sirotkin is offering a great deal more money than Kubica, and reported that based on the tests, Sirotkin out-performed the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner. Over the last few days, Sirotkin's contract has supposedly come close to being finalised, with only minor details needing to be ironed out.

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (16)

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  • f1dave

    Posts: 772

    Downhill since Sir Frank stepped back.

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 17:29
    • Kevin

      Posts: 4,605

      Believe me, no decisions are taken without consulting Sir Frank first.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2017 - 00:32
  • Massa will probably return at this stage

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 17:50
    • Kean

      Posts: 679

      I think he's probably the fastest out of the bunch they're considering, but they can't afford to pay Massa's 6 million dollar salary anymore.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2017 - 18:49
  • Kean

    Posts: 679

    Massa confirms that Williams decision is financially motivated. Kubica was the favorite for the seat until Sirotkin came with a $15 million offer (and yes he did impress in Abu Dahbi). Maybe the delay is so that Kubica can raise more than the reporded $8 million he brings. Or maybe Kvyat is in the frame if he can gather enough sponsors. Or maybe the delay has to do with Williams having to sort things out with Martini. Either way this circus leaves doubts that the fastest candidate will get the seat, rather the one with the biggest purse. A surprising development since Williams already are getting far more than $15 million from the Stroll family.

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 17:53
  • With Robert now out of the running, they are going to be down to two pay drivers, such a let down for a once great team. They'll slide further and further down the constructors ranks and soon into obscurity.

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 18:05
  • rkpol

    Posts: 1

    Announcement delayed ergo any 2nd driver money delayed too;
    With all new season prep and car development it's pretty weird...
    How does it feel to shoot in your own knee, huh Williams?

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 19:14
  • Savio

    Posts: 145

    Only Kubica!

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 19:45
  • Sounds like a bad idea. :/

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 20:07
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    I think this news should give more hope to Robert quite honestly.. But, why the delay? It has to be about the money, sorry to say. I was hoping that for this seat they’d go for performance not cash. Oh well, it’s a sign of the times. Perhaps they cannot race without this money and this will keep them competitive. We’ll see but it’s going to be a stress filled Christmas for some. We should ask Massa. Apparently he has always known who is going to replace him. Oh yeah Felipe?

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 20:13
    • They need to settle with the insurance claim of Kubica should they choose the Pole. They need to renegotiate their deal with main sponsor Martini should they choose the Russian.

      And they are currently going round world leaders to prevent WW3 - Russia and Poland aren't good friends and the driver pick is a very sensitive topic in both countries; national pride at stake let's say....

      That's why :)

      • + 0
      • Dec 15 2017 - 22:30
  • The only team for which I no longer have any hopes of future greatness. I see Sauber and Haas becoming great before Williams ever would. They literally engineered to be a midfield team and nothing else. We pre-judged Stroll and maybe we were harsh, but he is clearly not a superstar. I still don't think he deserves a seat. Sirotkin? Yes he seems promising, but it's putting a mediocre year old rookie, with a brand new one. The inability to make a choice for this long to me also shows poor management.

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 20:32
    • I think they are playing it too safe. They rely too much on the Mercedes unit's raw power, and arent willing to spend the time or money to produce a chassis to match it in the corners. Thats probably worse than being uncapable, IMO.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2017 - 12:10
  • Niids

    Posts: 43

    Maybe they read someones suggestion and are orginizing ebay auction ?

    • + 0
    • Dec 15 2017 - 22:07
  • Savio

    Posts: 145

    Look what i found..
    "According to what we have learned in the last hours, the Polish driver together with his manager, Nico Rosberg, would meet again the top of the English team bringing a new proposal on the table . The 2016 world champion would have studied a formula of this type: a minimum number of Grand Prix for Kubica in 2018 (seven), the guarantee of bringing in an amount close to the million US $ a contested race and an option for the remaining part of the season , linked to the performances in the race against the teammate"

    • + 2
    • Dec 15 2017 - 22:51
  • gzr1979

    Posts: 1

    Shame on you Sir Frank.
    You want to have Putins driver with Putins money of russian bank with USA sanctions program.
    Sir Frank - please contract Kvyat and Sirotking and change team name to Force Russia.

    • + 0
    • Dec 16 2017 - 10:04

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