Williams have confirmed Mercedes young driver George Russell as one of their drivers for 2019.
Williams have revealed the first of their drivers for next season, by taking on Mercedes’ reserve driver George Russell. This was widely expected, as Mercedes supply engines to the team and it’s understood that a significant discount to the price of that supply would be applied if Russell was slotted into one of the vacant cockpits.
“It is a huge honour to join a team of Williams’ prestige and heritage.” said Russell. Having won the GP3 title in 2017, he currently leads the F2 Championship over rival Lando Norris, who will race with McLaren next year.
“Formula One has been a life-long dream. From watching the races when I was a child, it feels surreal that I will now be lining up on the grid, alongside drivers whom I have admired for years. I would like to thank Claire and everyone at Williams for their faith in making this decision, as well as Toto and the team at Mercedes for their fantastic support throughout GP3 and Formula 2. I am incredibly excited to start working with everyone at Grove and to take my first steps as a Formula One race driver. I cannot wait for Melbourne next year and to join Williams at the start of what we all believe will be the start of an exciting new journey.”
His teammate for 2019 is yet to be announced. Current Williams driver Lance Stroll is expected to depart for Force India, due to his father Lawrence buying the team as part of the consortium Racing Point. Sergey Sirotkin’s chances of keeping his seat appear to be diminishing, due to fading finances on the side of his sponsor SMP Racing, while the other Mercedes young driver Esteban Ocon is believed to not be being offered on the same terms as George Russell.
Williams boss Claire Williams welcomed Russell to the team by saying: “I am delighted to announce that George Russell will be joining Williams from the 2019 season. We have always tried to promote and develop young talent at Williams, and George fits that ethos perfectly. He is already highly regarded in the paddock and a driver whose career we have been watching for a while. In the time we have spent with him so far, we believe that he will be a great fit for our team; his commitment, passion and dedication is exactly what we need to drive the positive momentum building at Grove as we focus on the future. We are extremely excited to welcome George and work with him moving forward.”