Valsecchi: I have not yet been paid by Lotus

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One wonders if Lotus test driver Davide Valsecchi may have triggered even more fears among Formula One observers about the team’s financial state after telling an Italian website that he has not been paid for his services from the 2013 season.

For his part, Valsecchi, who was passed over by Lotus as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement for the final two races in favor of Heikki Kovalainen, has faith that the Enstone team will eventually pay.

“According to my contract, my salary was like that of a waiter. They haven’t paid me yet,” he said to F1Passion.it, noting that the team has “always behaved well towards [him].”

“I’m sure that as soon as they’ll be in a position to do so, they’ll solve their debt.”

Nonetheless, Valsecchi’s comments could be considered as coming at an inopportune time. With the Quantum saga still fresh on observers’ minds, everyone is keeping an eye on the competitive but underfunded team as the new season approaches.

As for what the future holds for Valsecchi personally, he told the Italian site that he currently doesn’t have any commitments lined up for 2014. He also noted that he’d be open to coming to the United States and racing in the IndyCar Series.

“For sure, if someone were to call me to race without asking me for money, I’d be ready to do it right away, but I’m not too worried about the situation,” he told F1 Passion. “And I won’t stop exerting myself to have a steering wheel in hand soon.

“In the meantime, I don’t conceal my desire to get into IndyCar. There is someone who gave me a hand, although in the U.S., I’m not as famous as here in Europe, where my achievements in GP2 are well known.”

After splitting his 2011 season between GP2 and a test role with Team Lotus (now known as Caterham), Valsecchi earned the 2012 GP2 championship prior to landing at Lotus as third driver for 2013.

Williams to wait until new year before making 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams will wait until the new year before making an announcement regarding its Formula 1 driver line-up for the 2018 season.

Williams holds the final vacant seat in F1 for next year, with Felipe Massa retiring at the last race of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

The Brazilian’s departure has opened up a seat alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, which looked poised to be taken by Robert Kubica, over seven years after he last raced in F1 before injuries sustained in a rally accident appeared to cut his career short.

Doubts emerged about Kubica’s comeback following a test with Williams in its 2017-spec car in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, leading to Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin becoming the favorite.

Besides Kubica and Sirotkin, ditched Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also an option, but Williams has now confirmed it will make no decision on its line-up until the new year.

Sirotkin first entered the frame in F1 in 2013 when he became a development driver at Sauber, with Russian backers SMP Racing pushing to get him a race seat for the following year.

Sirotkin missed out on a full-time role at the team, leading him to focus on racing in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2014 before spending two years in GP2, where he finished third in the standings in both seasons.

Renault struck an agreement to sign Sirotkin in a junior role in 2016, leading to a number of practice run-outs over the last two seasons, but he was passed over for a 2018 race seat when it signed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Williams emerged as an option for Sirotkin following a successful maiden test with the team in Abu Dhabi alongside Kubica, with talks now set to continue over the holiday period.

Sirotkin has not taken on a full-time race program this year, making just a single competitive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Sirotkin has also been involved in the development of the team’s BR Engineering-designed LMP1 car for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and is likely to secure a seat should he miss out on the role at Williams.