Renault Sport F1 Team‘s trackside operations director Alan Permane has backed Sergey Sirotkin for a future Formula 1 Drive.
Sirotkin has been part of the Renault team for two years and has competed in tests and practice outings. But the Russian has been overlooked over a seat in F1 by Nico Hulkenberg and the arrival of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Still under contract with Renault, Sirotkin was given permission by Renault to test with Williams Martini Racing at the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.
Whilst Robert Kubica is considered the favourite for the vacant Williams seat, Paddy Lowe admitted that Sirotkin was considered a candidate for the seat.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Alan Permane said that he feels Sirotkin is ready to race in Formula 1.
“I know I’m always likely to say that, because he is working with us, but I think he’s got the pace. I really do. And certainly he’s got, let’s say, the work ethic.” said Permane.
Permane felt Sirotkin was unlucky this year in terms of practice runs, with the R.S.17 suffering failures at the Russian and Spanish Grand Prix.
“This year he’s had some really bad luck with us. We haven’t done a good enough job for him, honestly, on Fridays. He’s driven the car four times and I think twice it completely failed on him,”
“But in that time, if you look at his laptime, certainly compared to Jolyon Palmer in Malaysia in the wet and compared our immediate competitors, he does a good job for someone who doesn’t drive the car very much, he was very quick.”
“On the other side of things out of the car, I can’t fault him at all. The effort he puts in, the feedback he gives in the office, what he is happy to do work-wise with the engineers, there are absolutely no problems at all.”
Nico Hulkenberg joined in with Permane saying that the Russian is down to earth and a hard working character.
“He is a very humble guy. He is very down-to-earth. I think he is a very hard-working guy, too.” said Hulkenberg.
“Unfortunately he’s had quite a bit of bad luck. Whenever he had a chance to run in P1 a few times there were technical issues or the weather was bad, there was always something.”
“I feel a little bit for him, that he never got to show what he can do, because I think he is quite a skilled driver.”