Williams team principal Jost Capito says George Russell has “all the characteristics necessary to achieve the greatest success” in Formula 1 after his long-expected move to Mercedes was confirmed today.
Russell has driven for Williams for his entire F1 career so far, and is currently in his third year with the team ahead of his step up to Mercedes in 2022. After having seen the 2018 Formula 2 champion pull out multiple standout performances in qualifying – the most recent of which led to a career-first podium at rain-affected Spa – Capito is sure of Russell’s potential.
“Over the past three years, it’s been clear to every member of staff here at Williams just how dedicated, focused, and talented George is through his contributions to the team both on and off track,” Capito said. “He has all the characteristics necessary to achieve the greatest success in our sport and we are therefore delighted for him, both as a team and me personally, to see him rewarded with the opportunity to test himself at Mercedes.
“We will watch his progress with interest and pride, knowing the role Williams has played in developing his considerable skills.
“We were of course aware of this possibility coming to fruition and therefore have a number of strong driver options available to us. We now look forward to shaping our future line-up that will help us take the next step in our exciting journey as a team and will make any announcement in due course.”
Russell’s own first comments regarding his promotion to Mercedes were about his current team, and the role it has played in developing him so far in F1.
“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions,” Russell said. “I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my teammates and friends at Williams. It has been an honor working alongside every member of the team, and an honor to represent the Williams name in F1.
“Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs. We’ve battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second.
“No matter how tough it’s been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day. I’ve loved every moment in what I’d describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I’ll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way.
“I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team. Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022. A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you.”