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Williams chose Sirotkin on ability, insists SMP boss

Sergey Sirotkin
© XPB 

The co-founder of SMP Racing has insisted that Sergey Sirotkin won his 2018 seat at Williams based on ability alone.

There have been complaints that the team chose Sirotkin over Robert Kubica because of the sponsor money he can bring from SMP. But Boris Rotenberg insists that is not the case.

"Money is always an important part of motorsport, it's an expensive sport," he acknowledged this week. "But here it's not a money principle.

"It's Sergey, who's proven he can work with the car," he said. "He can be as fast as the team's regular drivers.

"He can work with the machinery, the engineers, and establish a great relationship with the team.

"That's why Williams chose him," he added. "Because in Abu Dhabi he did the best he could and surprised everybody."

Prior to those tests, Kubica had looked to be in pole position for the race seat. However his pace was reportedly not as good as that of the young Russian, who duly got the nod to replace Felipe Massa for 2018.

As well as Kubica, Sirotkin overcame interest in the seat from the likes of Paul di Resta, Daniil Kvyat and Pascal Wehrlein. The 22 year-old will line-up alongside Lance Stroll for the Australian Grand Prix next month.

Rotenberg said that any money being paid out to Williams would pay for technical development.

"We're investing money, but we're investing it in technology, in the new car, that we'll see in February and going forward."

SMP Racing chief executive Dmitry Samorukov echoed the remarks.

"The monetary part will be directed at the development of technologies, for the car to go faster," he said this week.

"To be even more precise: we know that the financial cooperation with Williams will go towards improving the car.

"Whatever the money is, it will go towards making the car more competitive."

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