Williams have said that they will not be making an announcement about who will fill their remaining driver seat for 2018 until next month.
It is widely believed that Sergey Sirotkin is the favourite to replace the retiring driver Felipe Massa at the team. However, the delay in confirming who will be Lance Stroll’s teammate next year suggests that the decision has not yet been finalised.
For a long time it was thought that Robert Kubica was set to make a return to F1 with Williams, six years after he suffered career-changing arm injuries in a crash while rallying.
However, Sirotkin was highly impressive during the end of season testing in Abu Dhabi when Kubica also drove Williams’ 2017 car for the first time. It is also though that the Russian youngster’s candidature boasts significant sponsorship and according to some reports, it may be worth as much as £15 million.
They are not the only two in contention. Daniil Kvya, who was dropped at the end of last season by Toro Rosso, is also being considered as a replacement for Masa and is understood to have been driving in Williams’ simulator over the last few weeks.
However, it seems that all the drivers will have to wait to find out their fate with a Williams spokesperson saying recently that the team “don’t plan on any driver announcement until January.”
All the other teams have confirmed their driver line-ups for next season so this is the final chance for the drivers to secure a racing place. Testing for next season is due to start in February before the first race in March but it seems likely that Williams will put an end to speculation and make their announcement early in January, long before testing begins.