While, in days gone by, a seat at Williams would be a driver’s dream come true, today the Grove outfit is a shadow of its former self, looking likely to finish last in the 2018 team standings.
“There are talks with Williams obviously,” he told reporters in Sochi. “I cannot say it will be a downgrade, Williams is a great team, they have been world champions in the past and they have been fighting with us hard last year. They have tough times, but all teams have tough times.”
Asked if the Grove outfit is his only realistic hope of remaining in F1, he admitted: “I think so”.
Insisting that he will not consider other series such as IndyCar or Formula E, he said: “For sure, it could be an option to be on the bench next year. But even if that is the case, I will be back in 2020, and I will be back stronger and prepared.”
Asked specifically about IndyCar, he replied: “I am not interested. I am interested in F1, and that is the only thing I want to do. That is my only focus.
“I like racing, I like cars and I think it is a great series,” he added. “But the only thing I look at is F1, it is my only target and my only target is to be world champion one day, and there is nothing else that counts really.
“Looking at Robert, it breaks you a bit from that,” he continued, referring to Canadian Robert Wickens who is recovering following his horrific crash at Pocono Raceway last month, “but even if that was not the case I would not look at IndyCar.
“If I am told I am not racing in the next couple of years in F1, then I need to leave, I need to work,” he admitted. “But what I am trying to do is, if I am not racing in F1 next year, to come back in 2020. I feel like there is nothing for me to learn away from F1.”