Formula 1

Russell: Williams can focus on performance instead of survival

George Russell says his Williams F1 team can finally focus on finding performance instead of keeping the team alive thanks to an investment boost from its new owners and the appointment of a technical director.

After a turbulent few seasons, the Williams family sold the team last year to American investment firm Dorilton Capital.

With fresh investment in place, Williams' new owners promoted Simon Roberts to the role of team principal, with former Volkswagen Motorsport chief Jost Capito coming in as CEO.

Capito brought in Francois-Xavier Demaison, whom he worked with at Volkswagen on the brand's successful WRC and Pikes Peak programmes, to fill the role of technical director that has been left vacant since Paddy Lowe's exit during a disastrous 2019 season.

According to Russell, the arrival of Capito and Demaison is a key moment in Williams' reversal of fortunes, with the team now being able to focus on performance rather than just surviving.

"I think it’s incredibly positive news for Williams in the years to come with the arrival of [Jost] and I really believe we’ve got a firm boss at the helm who will be able to structure a proper technical team around us to help improve ultimately the performance of the car," Russell said.

"Obviously, we’ve not had a technical director in my whole reign at Williams, which is crazy if you think about it.

"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 trying to make the car go as fast as possible.

"The focus was just keeping the team in Formula 1, which was obviously actually a great thing to do, but we can now get back to fully focusing on the performance. It's really exciting for everyone at Williams with Jost at the helm."

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Russell admits his tricky Williams stint has been made even more "difficult" without a clear technical director at the helm.

But the Briton, who advanced to Q2 and finished 14th in the Bahrain Grand Prix, is confident Demaison will "bring everything together" in preparation of F1's radical 2022 overhaul, which is Williams' biggest opportunity to finally move up the grid.

"I think it’s incredibly important to have a technical director in place," Russell explained.

"Formula 1 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 a lot of people had to do jobs that they probably weren’t necessarily signed up for, because there wasn’t anybody necessarily leading them.

"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, whether it’s mechanical, whether it’s electronics, whatever it maybe, with our new technical director orchestrating them and bringing everything together."

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