Abiteboul Says Sirotkin ‘needs to be given a chance’ to race in Formula 1

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Cyril Abiteboul insists Sergey Sirotkin would deserve his place on the Formula 1 grid as the Russian continues to be the favourite for the Williams Martini Racing seat alongside Lance Stroll in 2018.

Sirotkin was part of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team as their reserve driver for the past two seasons, and tested with Williams in the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test alongside Robert Kubica, and it looks as though the former GP2 Series race winner has put himself into pole position for the last available seat on the grid ahead of the Pole.

Abiteboul, the team boss of Renault, admits he was impressed by Sirotkin’s performances during his time with the team, which saw him take part in six Free Practice sessions and two test days, and he feels he has done enough to warrant the opportunity to race in Formula 1.

“Frankly we have always been very impressed by Sergey,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “We have not always been impressed by the luck he has, because I think on two or three of his FP1s he performed for the team we had some mechanical issues with the car completely unrelated to him.

“But when he was capable of driving he was really capable of showing that he had some pace and also a very strong understanding of the car. I think it’s quite amazing, given his moderate experience of Formula 1 cars, the accuracy of his technical feedback was always extremely helpful.

“Actually, some of the development we did this season is also a credit to the feedback we received from Sergey – on the actual car, but also the simulator.

“Really, in terms of pace, in terms of loyalty, in terms of focus, in terms of work, I think he deserves to be given a chance in Formula 1. It’s difficult for me to say how strong he would be in a Formula 1 car against any team-mate, but certainly he needs to be given a chance, absolutely.”