Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Williams hands Russell race seat for 2019

Formula One Testing 20-year-old Brit George Russell to race for Williams in 2019 F1 season
Cassandra Castillo | 12 October, 2018, 21:42

As exclusively revealed by The Times earlier this year, Mercedes had been eager to try and find Russell, who is part of the junior driver programme, a race seat.

"Formula One has been my lifelong ambition and dream, so to finally get this opportunity".

While new-for-2019 McLaren driver Lando Norris has been hailed as the next great driver from Great Britain, Russell has comfortably held his countryman at arm's length in F2 this year, catching Norris in the points at the midway stage of the season before building what is an nearly unassailable championship lead with just the two races in Abu Dhabi remaining.

Williams confirmed Friday that George Russell will drive for the team in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship.

George Russell has become the third British driver confirmed for the 2019 F1 season after the 20-year-old signed a "multi-year agreement" with Williams. From watching the races when I was a child, it feels surreal that I will now be lining up on the grid, alongside drivers who I have admired for years'.

Mercedes' team principal, Toto Wolff, a keen admirer of Russell, is likely to have played an instrumental role in moving him to Williams.

Russell will be the first British driver to race full-time for Williams since Jenson Button in 2000 and will be just 21 when he lines up on the grid in Melbourne, Australia next March.

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F2 title winners can not repeat the series, and as Russell is on track for triumph, his Mercedes-AMG mentors had to decide whether to help him up into F1 or detour him through comparable feeder series (Super Formula, Indy Lights) for a season before readying him for F1.

"I am incredibly excited to start working with everyone at Grove and to take my first steps as a Formula One race driver".

"I can not wait for Melbourne next year and to join Williams at what we all believe will be the start of an exciting new journey".

There has been no announcement on the identity of Russell's teammate for 2019, but the young Mercedes driver Esteban Ocon and former F1 driver Robert Kubica appear to have had their hopes for a Williams seat dashed.

'He is already highly regarded in the paddock and a driver whose career we have been watching for a while.

Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll are Williams' current drivers, though the latter is expected to join Racing Point Force India after his father, Lawrence, led a buy-out of the team.

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