December 11, 2018

F1 news: Mika Salo reveals real reason Williams ditched Sergey Sirotkin for Robert Kubica | F1 | Sport


That is according to former F1 driver Mika Salo, who has taken a swipe about the British team’s hopes for next season.

Sergey Sirotkin spent the 2018 campaign with Williams after edging out Kubica and a clutch of rivals for Felipe Massa’s old seat.

But he endured a torrid year, picking up just a single point from 21 races to finish bottom of the standings.

Williams were already aware they would be waving goodbye to Force India-bound Lance Stroll before deciding to axe Sirotkin.

And it seems Robert Kubica had already been lined up to race alongside George Russell next season.

Salo, who works for the Russian bank, SMP, which helped get Sirotkin a place at Williams to start with, has now offered his take on why Sirotkin was let go.

And he’s insisted the 23-year-old’s exit is not an issue because he’s not expecting big things from Williams in 2019.

“It was pretty much up to Williams to close [the deal] in the end,” Salo told Finnish outlet MTV.

“Of course, [SMP] wanted to lower the price a bit, and to get them the assurance that Williams is getting better.

“We did not reach a consensus.

“Williams was not able to give any guarantees, and then came to another solution.

“We did not see Williams coming to do anything next year, and that’s not worth [the investment].

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m not worried that Sergei leaves them.”

Salo has hinted Sirotkin could move into endurance driving with no seat in F1 going his way for next year.

“But Sergei did a good season,” Salo added.

“He did a good job, and the team liked him.

“His technical knowledge is astonishing, and we have to use it more.

“We have [Le Mans] that we need a driver of Sergei’s level for.”

Salo expects Kubica might find it hard going to adapt to the rigours of F1 having not raced in the sport since a rally crash in 2011.

“It’s a tough thing,” Salo said.

“He has a lot of supporters around the world.

“He’s a tough guy, and he’ll be able to see how well he can handle it.”



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