Russell made call that led to Williams F1 drive

George Russell has revealed he called Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe before this year’s German Grand Prix to request a meeting with the team over a Formula 1 drive.

Russell made call that led to Williams F1 drive

Formula 2 championship leader Russell was announced as a 2019 Williams F1 driver on Friday, a deal he started pushing for back in July.

Mercedes junior Russell and Lowe briefly worked together before Lowe left the manufacturer to join Williams for 2017 and Russell used that link to lobby for an F1 seat.

Russell told Motorsport.com: "My first contact with them was about two weeks before the Hockenheim race.

"I had a phone call with Paddy and I told him, 'I want to be in Formula 1 next season and I want to be in a Williams, can we have a meeting with yourself and Claire and discuss the matter further?'.

"That was the real point I knew things were moving in Formula 1 and I needed to get in there before I missed an opportunity.

"It was probably the Hockenheim weekend [that was] the first indication or point of contact with Williams and things started progressing from there."

Russell has been supported by Mercedes since 2016 and tested for the title-winning squad in Hungary last year and again this summer.

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has talked up the 20-year-old, he has made it clear it would not simply pay for its juniors to find an F1 seat – a situation that also impacts Esteban Ocon, who is likely to spend 2019 on the sidelines.

Russell said it was important for him to be proactive in securing his F1 graduation.

"I always feels it is better off coming from the horses mouth, rather than the likes of Toto or whoever from Mercedes making that point of contact for me," said Russell.

"As I knew Paddy from when he was at Mercedes we had a bit of a relationship, so I was more than comfortable picking up the phone with him and arranging to meet himself and Claire."

Mercedes told Russell he would get an F1 opportunity if he produced the right results, and the Briton is now on the brink of clinching the F2 crown.

Russell believes his strong form in the feeder series – six wins and four poles, more than any other driver – has "100%" been a factor in winning over Williams.

"When you're in the negotiation period coming off the back of bad weekends it's difficult to sell yourself," he said.

"When you're come off the back of a race win, as the saying goes you're only as good as your last race.

"If you're winning the race in pivotal moments it helps a huge amount."

shares
comments
Why the right F1 driver is "screwed" for 2019

Previous article

Why the right F1 driver is "screwed" for 2019

Next article

Wolff says he will not interfere in Mercedes strategy calls

Wolff says he will not interfere in Mercedes strategy calls
Load comments
How the pitstop rules change has left F1 teams scrambling Prime

How the pitstop rules change has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Prime

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021