Sergey Sirotkin prioritising GP2 title push over Renault test role

Sergey Sirotkin says his focus is more on winning the GP2 Series title than his new Renault Formula 1 test role in 2016

Sergey Sirotkin prioritising GP2 title push over Renault test role

The sometime Sauber F1 protege has taken reigning GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne's vacant seat at benchmark team ART Grand Prix this year, having finished third in the standings with Rapax in his maiden season in 2015, and also sealed a Renault role that has already included a Friday practice drive at the Russian Grand Prix.

He believes clinching the GP2 title this year will be the best way to prove he is ready for an F1 race seat in 2017.

"The target for this year is not the test driver role," Sirotkin said.

"This is a good opportunity, a chance to prove myself but the most work and focus is totally on GP2.

"I'll try to divide it a bit, what the people are expecting from me [with Renault] and from GP2.

"To be honest, for myself overall, being a GP2 champion is something very important.

"The test driver role is very important and I'm very thankful for the opportunity but it's probably something more I deserved last year and it just came this year.

"I need to do something more, something better."

Sirotkin claimed the European Formula Abarth title as a 16-year-old in 2011, and was then a race-winner in Auto GP and Formula Renault 3.5 before his GP2 move.

He had a Sauber affiliation on the way that was originally intended to prepare him for a race seat.

Though that did not come to fruition, it allowed him to make his F1 test debut and to drive for the team in Friday practice at his inaugural home grand prix at Sochi in 2014.

He said his new deal with Renault was already inspiring other young drivers on Russian backer SMP's development programme.

"Being here in Renault is a great opportunity for me. It's a big step for SMP as well," said Sirotkin.

"It's one of the biggest driver development programmes. It covers everything from karting to F1.

"I'm working with some young kids and they are dreaming about F1.

"When they see the door is open, and they see it is achievable, it's a good push for them to work hard."

He expects further GP practice appearances with Renault through the 2016 season, describing the Sochi run as the start of a "much bigger plan" that includes "a lot of simulator runs and development things - an exciting programme".

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