FIA Formula 2 driver Artem Markelov says he could find himself piloting a Williams Martini Racing Formula 1 car before the end of the season, if Lance Stroll does move away from the team to join Racing Point Force India F1 Team.
The Russian driver is currently in his fifth year in FIA Formula 2, once known as GP2 Series and is aiming to make the break into F1. He is currently Renault Sport Formula One Team‘s Development driver and tested an 2018 F1 car at the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test.
Williams’ current driver Lance Stroll is expected to join Racing Point Force India F1 Team at some point in the future, which is owned by a consortium led by his father, Lawrence Stroll. The move could set off a domino effect that would lead to multiple drivers moving teams during the season.
The Russian Time driver is hoping to earn a Formula 1 drive for next year, but according to Motorsport.com, is interested and is negotiating with Williams over a deal to bring significant funding, that should give him a seat. If Markelov does join before the end of the year, he would partner up with fellow Russian Sergey Sirotkin.
The Russian has enough superlicence points to enter into F1 next year, if an drive opens up at Williams or any of the other teams.
In an interview with Russian Media Sportbox, Markelov says that he hopes Williams will pay attention to him and give him a shot at an F1 drive.
“I hope they will pay attention to me and give me an opportunity. We’ll see,” said Markelov. “I think you will find out about this closer to the end of the year, because we are not yet 100% sure. But I hope we get the opportunity to pilot the Formula 1 car next year.”
Markelov also added that this year will be his last in Formula 2, with or without a promotion to F1.
“No, this was more than enough,” said Markelov. “Maybe I’ll finish. Who knows, but why not? So either I will finish, or Formula 1”.
Williams’ team boss Claire Williams has admitted that it would be odd that Lance would not join his father’s team at some point in the future. Robert Kubica is the favourite to take over the second Williams seat if Stroll does end up moving teams before the season ends and says he’s ready to make the step up if needed too.
It’s unclear on who will be at the team next year, with the likes of Esteban Ocon and George Russell are eyeing on a seat at the Grove based team alongside Markelov. Although the Russian has links with Renault, a Williams offer could cancel the situation, similar to Sirotkin last year with his connections to the French squad in his move into F1.