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Sirotkin strongly rejects "pay driver" label

Written by  Feb 06, 2018

2018 Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin has strongly retorted claims he is another 'pay driver' in Formula 1 after landing the seat alongside Lance Stroll.

The Russian was an unexpected choice for several reasons, including an understanding the Grove-based team had to have at least one driver over 25 due to their title sponsor Martini and the fact he beat a former Grand Prix winner in Robert Kubica to earn to drive.

In the weeks before he was confirmed, many, including Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve, pointed to the extra sponsorship Sirotkin receives from the Putin-linked SMP Bank, around $15 million, and claimed that was the main reason for Williams' decision.

"I do not pay attention to names like 'pay driver'," the former F2 driver and Renault reserve responded, talking Russian radio Sport FM.

"People write things but where do they get the information from? If you know something and can confirm it with facts, then please do."

Williams has already insisted it was Sirotkin's performance at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi which was most influential and, with the youngest line-up on the grid for 2018, claim they have a long-term "investment' in both drivers.

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