JUNE 16, 2023

Sirotkin F1 backer says Williams deceived them

Williams is in dire need of major team upgrades.

Alex Albon, Spanish GP 2023
© Williams Racing

Williams is in dire need of major team upgrades.

That is the message not only of the former title-winning team's new boss James Vowles, but also of a Russian billionaire by the name of Boris Rotenberg.

Via his SMP Racing program, Rotenberg bankrolled Sergey Sirotkin's single season in Formula 1 in 2018.

"We signed an agreement with Claire Williams," the oligarch recalled this week.

"We had an agreement that with our money they would develop the car and we would start doing something together. But, of course, we were deceived," Rotenberg is quoted by Championat.

"None of this happened, and the car did not go anywhere," he added. "And Sergey, with his technical education and knowledge, was simply used to set up the car."

Williams finished dead last in the constructors' championship in 2018, but the Grove-based team is still last five years later.

Alex Albon, but not the American rookie Logan Sargeant, will be at the wheel of a car upgrade in Montreal this weekend.

"We've been falling away a little bit from the fight with the midfield in the last few races," Albon said, "so hopefully this can get us back into that fighting area."

But even team boss Vowles, fresh from his sparkling career at Mercedes, admits that Williams has a lot of work to do to catch up.

"There are some elements at Williams that are 20 years out of date," he said. "In certain areas there was hardly any investment for two decades until the new owners got there.

"Some of the facilities were up-to-date in 2000."