Ex-Formula 1 driver, Mika Salo, has revealed that a disagreement over finances led to Sergey Sirotkin’s departure from Williams.
Salo had been working with Sirotkin as part of SMP’s support programme in 2018, but the season ultimately resulted in the Russian being replaced by Robert Kubica for the 2019 campaign.
Upon confirmation of Sirotkin’s exit, his backers, SMP, claimed that it was they who decided to pull the plug on their partnership and not the other way around.
Salo has echoed those claims by stating that Sirotkin’s sponsors were looking for a cut-price deal for the seat given the miserable 2018 season that Williams endured.
“It was pretty much up to Williams,” Salo told Finnish broadcaster MTV.
“Of course we wanted to lower the price a bit and get an assurance that Williams will get better. We did not reach a consensus.
“That’s one of the reasons why I’m not worried that Sergey leaves.”
Salo also suggested that a return to the World Endurance Championship is on the cards for Sirotkin.
“Sergey did a good season,” Salo added.
“He did a good job and the team liked him. His technical knowledge is astonishing and we have LMP (Le Mans prototype) cars that need a driver of Sergey’s level.”
After it was announced that Kubica would be making a full-time return to Formula 1 racing with Williams, it was later revealed that his sponsors, Polish oil company PKN Orlen, had agreed a commercial deal with the Grove-based team which includes advertising on both FW42 cars next season.