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F1: Williams signs former Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin to team with Stroll

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Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin was named Tuesday as the second driver for Williams Racing in Formula One.

The 22-year-old Sirotkin will be teamed with 19-year-old teammate Lance Stroll, giving Williams one of the youngest and least-experienced teams on the F1 grid heading into the 2018 season.

Sirotkin comes to Williams after serving as a test driver for Sauber in 2014 and Renault in 2016 and 2017.

Sirotkin replaces Felipe Massa in the Williams’ ride. Sirotkin becomes the third Russian to compete in F1 after Vitaly Petrov and Daniil Kvyat.

Sirotkin has had a long working relationship with Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg, a close friend and former judo workout partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s unclear if Rotenberg will bring financing to the Williams’ effort to support Sirotkin.

The first F1 race is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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