Ex-Williams racer Sirotkin rejoins Renault as 2019 F1 reserve

Former Williams Formula 1 racer Sergey Sirotkin has rejoined the Renault team as its reserve driver for 2019

Sirotkin originally worked for Renault in a development role in 2016 and was promoted to reserve driver for the following year.

He subsequently left the team to make his debut F1 campaign with Williams, but scored just one point in 2018 in an uncompetitive car and ultimately split with Williams after a single season.

Sirotkin tested DTM and Formula E machinery following his exit from the F1 grid, but will now make his return to the grand prix paddock.

"I am very pleased to rejoin my friends at Renault F1 Team and return to Formula 1," he said.

"We are well acquainted with the team, I spent the whole 2017 in their factory and in the garage.

"It would be interesting to learn how far Renault has advanced in the development of the car over the past year - because last season we were rivals, and I could not see the work from the inside.

"I am pleased to join the team as a reserve driver and work alongside Nico Hulkenberg, with whom we have previously collaborated, and Daniel Ricciardo, with whom I didn't yet have a chance to work closely."

Jack Aitken, who held the reserve role at Renault last year, will instead be moved to a test driver position as he contests his second F2 season, this time with the Campos Racing team.

Sirotkin continues to be supported by the SMP Racing programme, and its president Boris Rotenberg has stressed that Sirotkin's World Endurance Championship schedule will be his primary programme for 2019.

Sirotkin has been called up into SMP's LMP1 line-up for the final three races of the 2018/19 WEC superseason, including the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours.

A Renault statement clarified that Sirotkin and Aitken will "share F1 support duties to allow them to fulfil their racing commitments outside F1".

"We're very happy to reveal our full 2019 driver line-up," said Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. "It's a very strong and experienced team of drivers.

"Nico and Daniel are an exciting combination and will be strongly supported by Sergey, Jack and Guan Yu [Zhou, Renault's new test and development driver].

"In Sergey's return, we have a driver who has experienced a full season racing in Formula 1 and that knowledge will be beneficial to developing our package."

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