Mika Salo insists Sergey Sirotkin is more than just a pay driver, and the Russian will be a good fit within the Williams Martini Racing team in 2018.
Salo, who raced for seven teams during a 109-race Formula 1 career, now heads up the motor racing programme for Russian bank SMP, who are reportedly providing an estimated $20million to Williams to place Sirotkin with them.
But the Finn points to Sirotkin’s junior career and his previous Formula 1 experiences, with tests coming with both the Sauber F1 Team and more recently the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team before the move to Williams was confirmed.
“Williams is the best choice for Sirotkin,” said Salo to Finnish broadcaster MTV. “It’s a good team, he has a young team-mate and both are definitely hungry.
“He’s a smart guy. He knows a lot about engineering and technology and has good experience of F1 cars with Renault.”
Salo admits he is unsure to just which of the two drivers, Sirotkin or team-mate Lance Stroll, will have the advantage in 2018, but he is sure that the duo will fight hard against each other, which will be to the benefit of Williams.
“I think they’re pretty much the same, but we’ll only find out in the races,” said Salo. “They will certainly fight hard against each other, which takes the team forward and brings results for both of them.”