George Russell says it is “crazy” that he has never worked with a technical director throughout his time at Williams so far, following the arrival of Francois-Xavier Demaison.
Demaison was announced as Williams technical director at the end of last month, as one of the first major appointments being made by new Williams CEO Jost Capito. While Russell has been at Williams since 2019, it marks the first time he has been part of the team with a technical director, and he says it is a sign of Capito’s influence that major steps are being made to solidify a structure for the future.
“Jost’s arrival, firstly I’ve been very impressed with him,” Russell said. “His motivation and general spirit is massive. He’s an incredibly approachable guy. He’s talking to everybody in the garage and I think it’s incredibly positive news for Williams.
“In the years to come with the arrival of him, I really feel that we’ve got a firm boss at the helm who will be able to structure a proper technical ream around us to help improve ultimately the performance of the car.
“Obviously we’ve not had a technical director in my whole reign at Williams, which is crazy to think about. The priority I guess in my whole time at Williams until Dorilton took over was keeping the team afloat, keeping people’s jobs alive, keeping the team alive, as opposed to making the car go as fast as possible.
“The focus was just keeping the team in Formula 1, which was absolutely the correct thing to do but now the funds are there and we can now get back to fully focusing on the performance. Really exciting for everyone at Williams with Jost at the helm now.”
Although Williams has made clear progress over the past two years following an extremely poor 2019 season that saw Paddy Lowe depart, Russell says it is extremely significant that Demaison has finally arrived to fill the vacancy.
“I think it’s incredibly important to have a technical director. Basically you’ve got so many different departments, a Formula 1 race car is one massive jigsaw puzzle — you’ve got to put those pieces together, of which a technical director is the one orchestrating that.
“It’s been very difficult and there’s been a lot of people put in and had to do jobs that they weren’t necessarily signed up for, because there wasn’t anybody necessarily leading them and they were having to lead themselves. They were just doing jobs that wasn’t their role because of the situation.
“So now we’ve got a CEO, now we’ve got a technical director, these guys can now get back to focusing on their main objective — whether it’s aerodynamics, mechanical, electronics, whatever it may be — with our new technical director orchestrating and bringing everybody together.”