British racing driver George Russell has signed a multi-year deal with Williams starting next season, although the 20-year old will continue his relationship with Mercedes, for which he worked as a reserve and a test driver this season.
His resume includes accolades such as BRDC F4 champion and GP3 champion in 2017. This year, the youngster is poised to secure the FIA Formula 2 title, before making his way to Formula 1 in 2019.
“It is a huge honor to join a team of Williams’ prestige and heritage,” said Russell in an official statement. “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 everybody 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.”
Meanwhile, Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams went on to say that her outfit has “always tried to promote and develop young talent,” and that Russell fits their philosophy perfectly.
This is a very exciting time for Formula One, as more and more teams are signing very young drivers, a movement popularized by Max Verstappen’s amazing success – he was still only 18 when he made his racing debut for Red Bull (after driving for Toro Rosso previously).
In 2019, the following young drivers are now confirmed to line up on the grid: Charles Leclerc (20-yrs old / Ferrari), Max Verstappen (21-yrs old / Red Bull), Pierre Gasly (22-yrs old / Red Bull), Lando Norris (18-yrs old / McLaren) and now 20-year old George Russell for Williams. Should Lance Stroll either remain with Williams or join Force India, he will only serve to expand this group, as he is just 20 years old himself.