Sauber youngster Sergey Sirotkin has enjoyed his first run in a Formula One car today ahead of his expected ascension into the sport in 2014 with the Swiss team.
The eighteen-year-old comes as part of the team’s rescue package from a group of Russian investors following months of financial uncertainty. Although his position as a ‘pay driver’ has prompted criticism from a variety of figures within Formula One, Sirotkin does appear to be on the cusp of becoming the youngest ever driver in the history of the sport, breaking Jaime Alguersuari’s existing record.
Today, Sirotkin drove a Sauber C31 around 700 metres of the planned course for the Sochi circuit that will host the Russian Grand Prix next season. After the run-out, Sirotkin expressed his happiness after finally getting behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time.
“These were my first metres in a Formula One car, which of course is something special, even if it was only a short section of track in Sochi,” Sirotkin said. “But I still gained a first impression, and that was impressive.”
Sirotkin was full of praise for the new circuit, which was confirmed on the calendar for next season by the World Motor Sport Council today.
“It has also been fun to race in front of so many people, especially since most are compatriots of mine. Russia can be proud of this great track.”
It is yet to be revealed who will partner Sirotkin at Sauber, with current driver Esteban Gutierrez thought to be in the running along with Ferrari outcast Felipe Massa.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.