|For what it cost for Sergey Sirotkin to be a Friday morning track cleaner in F1, he could run a full season of IndyCar. But since IndyCar has no TV coverage globally, the Russians have no interest|
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin may remain in Formula 1 as a test driver in 2020.
With the backing of the Russian program SMP Racing, the 24-year-old made his F1 debut in 2018 with Williams, but had to settle for a reserve role with both Renault and McLaren last year.
For 2020, though, it looked likely that the Russian driver would bow out of Formula 1 altogether, with SMP assigning him to a karting school instead.
"Objectively speaking, the chances that I will start the season in Formula 1 are minimal," he admitted to Tass news agency. "Although I want it, and I am always ready.
"We are discussing several options, including endurance racing. I really hope that within a month I can announce the news," Sirotkin added.
The head of the SMP Racing program is Boris Rotenberg, a Russian oligarch with links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
"The main bet of SMP Racing is on Robert Schwartzman," the billionaire said on Tuesday.
"Now that he is in Formula 2, this season will be important for him and our entire program. Sergey Sirotkin and Vitaly Petrov will help him move up to Formula 1 as mentors."
But according to the Russian source Championat, another test driver role for Sirotkin is not ruled out.
"We are thinking about what we can do," Rotenberg said. "Sergey is generally very busy already, but the option of working as a test driver in Formula 1 is not excluded."