Andrew Lewin 11/10/2018 at 10:2111/10/2018 at 09:16
Sergey Sirotkin says that Williams is already making a head start on its 2019 campaign, after seriously struggling to be competitive this year.
The Russian rookie says that the team is ahead of where it was 12 months ago in terms of preparations for the forthcoming season.
“I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it looked already quite a big step better than the situation was exactly this time last year about the current car,” he said when asked how the team's preparations were going.
“Even in terms of the time-wise, let’s say, it is a step ahead, which is always good," he added. "It looks like we learned a big lesson and did a good improvement based on the work we did so far this year.”
"[But] I don’t want to say that we will be immediately back and everything will be 100 per cent as we want."
The team has undoubtedly suffered a setback this season and is currently bottom of the constructors standings. Sirotkin himself has notched up only one championship point after 17 races.
He confirmed that the team was looking at revamping the way it approached car development after the FW41's flop.
"It’s based on fundamental understanding, let’s say, on the process to build the car, it started from there,” he said. “That’s why it took us so long to understand it properly and get over it.
“I think now we learned many lessons about the very, very basics of all the procedure from zero to the end.
"I think the way we approach it with the new car is going to be already with quite a different process, [a different] system," he suggested.
“[That way] we can avoid the issues we finally found this year and obviously get more performance from it.”
Sirotkin's comments suggest that he is already deeply involved with the team's planning for 2019, boosting speculation that the 23-year-old expects to keep his place at the team for a second year.
That's still not confirmed, with the team's current test and development driver Robert Kubiuca as well as Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon all believed to be on a long list of drivers who would love to take the seat next season.
Sirotkin's team mate Lance Stroll is expected to move to Force India over the winter, after that team was saved from administration in August by a consortium led by the driver's billionaire father.
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