Robert Kubica is no longer in the run for William’s race seat, according to the news source Motorsport. Sergey Sirotkin is now understood to be the front-runner for the last available position in Formula 1.
Kubica and Sirotkin both took part in the Abu Dhabi Pirelli test. The British team spent the last week reviewing performance data collected during the trial.
Kubica was the top contender for the spot after Williams was impressed by his performance in the test runs before the Abu Dhabi round. His feedback on the car and the strong relationships he built within the team all seemed to the point out that he would get the race seat for next season.
But after looking at performance reports coming from the tyre test, Sirotkin emerged as a stronger candidate for the job.
Williams has been very particular about making a decision based purely on performance, making the Russian a better choice.
According to Motorsport, talks between the Russian and Williams are in advanced stages. But a few more details are to be ironed out before a deal is finalised.
Sirotkin is also bringing substantial financial backing with him, rumored to be around £15 million, from Russia’s SMP Racing. Created by Russian oligarch Boris Rotenberg, SMP Racing is a part of the SMP Bank.
If the deal does not go through with Sirotkin, ex-Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is another backup choice.
Along with Kubica, Williams’ current reserve driver Paul di Resta is also understood to be out of the picture for the race seat.
Williams has chosen not to respond to any of the questions about Kubica or Sirotkin.