Williams have announced F2 and Mercedes reserve driver George Russell will race for the team in 2019. The 20-year-old has signed a multi-year deal with the team, meaning he’ll make his full F1 debut at next year’s Australian Grand Prix.
Russell is currently leading the F2 championship in his rookie season, having won the GP3 title in 2017, and has previously taken part in FP1 sessions with Force India, as well as testing with Mercedes this season.
Following the announcement, Russell said: “It is a huge honour to join a team of Williams’ prestige and heritage. 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.”
I've dreamed of this moment for as long as I can remember…
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) October 12, 2018
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams added: “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.”
Russell, who previously joined us on an episode of 3 Legs 4 Wheels, is also a former British F4 champion and McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner. Williams haven’t announced who’ll be his teammate in 2019, but Lance Stroll is expected to move to Force India after his father purchased the team. He’ll be one of three British drivers on the grid next season, joining Lewis Hamilton and fellow rookie Lando Norris, and will be the first full-time British driver at Williams since Jenson Button in 2000.