Sergey Sirotkin is hoping to keep his seat at Williams for another year, following his maiden season with the team in 2018.
However the Russian rookie admits that nothing is certain. Drivers including Robert Kubica, Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon are all clamouring for a spot on next year’s grid.
“So far nothing has been decided,” the 23-year-old said this week in Suzuka, ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Sirotkin brings financial backing from SMP Racing, headed by Boris Rotenberg. But with only one point from his first 16 races, Sirotkin admits that this year had been a disappointment for all concerned.
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“I think both SMP Racing and I have the same answer: we want to be doing better than we are doing now,” he acknowledged. “But the last thing I want to do in our situation is say we give up.
“I am together with the team, and together we want to get out of the situation that we find ourselves in,” he said. “We have already made great efforts, so I don’t see the logic in stopping now without achieving a result.”
Sirotkin had certainly been hoping for better last weekend in his first home Grand Prix in Sochi. Instead, he ended up finishing the race two laps down in last place.
Now he has his sights set on a better weekend in Japan, where he’s driving at the iconic Suzuka track for the first time.
“Today was my first time in an F1 car around Suzuka and it was mega,” he declared.
“I know there’s a lot of speculation about how good it is, but it really is pretty amazing. It’s a mega experience for me and I really enjoyed it as it’s a very demanding track.
“To do a qualifying lap requires all your physical and mental energy,” he added. “Unfortunately, I think this is what we sometimes miss a lot from modern F1 tracks. It’s a pleasure to face this challenge here.”
Despite his enthusiasm for the circuit, Sirotkin once again found himself toward the bottom of the timesheets in Friday’s practice session. However he did improve in FP2 to edge ahead of his team mate Lance Stroll.
“I think we need to look a bit closer at today’s performance,” he suggested. “I think we’re in a reasonable position, so if we do everything right, and the conditions suit us, we’ll be on the edge of the Q1 cut-off.
“It will be a mega job if we do it, but that’s the target.”
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