MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The participation of Russian racer Sergey Sirotkin in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship will have a significant impact on the development of the Russian auto racing sport, SMP Racing founder and chief Boris Rotenberg said on Tuesday.
Williams announced earlier on Tuesday that it signed a contract with Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin to pilot one of its cars in the upcoming season. The 22-year-old Russian will partner Canada’s Lance Stroll, 19, in Team Williams. The contract with Sirotkin, who is a driver from the SMP Racing program on the development of the Russian auto racing sport, has been signed for the period of one season.
"The participation of Russian pilots in key auto racing sport competitions is one of our tasks," Rotenberg said. "We are taking another step in 2018, when we confidently reach a new and also the highest level of our program’s development as we are making our debut in Formula One with Sergey Sirotkin racing for Team Williams."
"This news will certainly please Russian fans and will have a significant impact on the development of the Russian auto racing," Rotenberg added.
Sirotkin is the third Russian driver to enter the world of F1 racing. The first Russian racer in Formula One was Vitaly Petrov, who made his debut in 2010. Another Russian driver, Daniil Kvyat, raced for teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso at different times between 2014 and 2017 and most recently signed a contract with Team Ferrari to become a development driver.
The 2018 FIA Formula One Championship includes 21 races and begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 23-25. The final Grand Prix of the upcoming season will be held in Abu Dhabi on November 23-25.