With the Williams team confirming that Robert Kubica has secured a drive for 2019, it leaves Sergey Sirotkin out in the cold. The Russian will be competing in his final race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
In a press release, Sirotkin said, “Dear friends, unfortunately, I won’t be racing in Formula 1 next year. It was a very long and tough year, not everything went as I wanted it to be. But I kept working and gave all my energy and all my heart to achieve hat I fell we deserved to, and if I’m honest, I do believe we did a very reasonable job in the current situation we found ourselves this year.
Thanks everyone for your support, for your trust and warm words, thanks for all the support I got during the Russian GP in Sochi which did seriously touch me a lot. And Partly thanks to you all, this season will always remain in my memory.
Thanks for everything dear friends.”
Дорогие друзья, к большому сожалению, в следующем году я не буду выступать в Формуле 1.
Dear friends, unfortunately, I won’t be racing in Formula 1 next year.#SMPRacing #WeAreRacing #F1 #AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/YNoshHXVn3
— Sirotkin Sergey (@sirotkin_sergey) November 22, 2018
Interestingly, Sirotkin’s backer SMP Racing has claimed it took the decision to split with the Grove-based team, citing poor performance and development rate as the reason.
“We took the decision not to continue participating in the Formula 1 world championship in the joint project with the Williams Martini Racing team,” said SMP Racing chief Boris Rotenberg in a statement.
“We were unpleasantly surprised by the team’s performance level at the start of the season, and the car’s development rate also turned out to be not high enough.
“Despite this, Sergey managed a good season in the circumstances, gave his 100 percent and fully accomplished the tasks set in front of him.
“We are satisfied with his work and are currently evaluating options for his racing career going forward.”
Williams has finished in the top 10 in just two races of the campaign so far, and sits last in the teams’ standings heading into the Abu Dhabi finale, with nearest rival Toro Rosso well out of reach at 33 points to the British team’s seven.
Sirotkin himself is responsible for just one of those points, but has largely matched his Racing Point Force India-bound sophomore teammate Lance Stroll over the course of the season.
“He [Sirotkin] will definitely contest many races as part of SMP Racing,” Rotenberg continued.
“Our decision will be announced in a short time.”
After the Kubica announcement, Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams commented: “Lance and Sergey have done a great job for us this year under difficult circumstances.
“They’ve both been incredibly professional and given everything on and off the race track. Our thanks from everybody at Williams for everything they’ve done when they’ve been with us.”