Williams Racing have announced George Russell as their first driver signing for the 2019 Formula One season.
The Mercedes junior has signed a multi-year deal with Williams which will see him make his competitive F1 debut in mid March at the Australian Grand Prix.
For Russell, this is a “huge honour” as Williams prepare to start afresh after what has been a difficult season, and he could very well be joining as only the second driver to reach F1 after winning back to back GP3 and Formula Two titles, if he can successfully wrap up the latter in Abu Dhabi next month.
Williams Team Principal, Claire Williams has described Russell as the driver who “perfectly” fitted Williams’ ethics of promoting and developing young talent and is “extremely excited” to welcome him to the team for next season.
This announcement also means that Great Britain will be represented by three drivers on the grid for first time since the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton, Paul Di Resta and Jolyon Palmer lined up for Mercedes, Williams and Renault respectively.
As for Russell’s partner, it’s understood that Williams are considering numerous candidates from Renault’s Artem Markelov to Esteban Ocon to name but a few. Current driver, Sergey Sirotkin is also under consideration for the seat with continuity perhaps the key factor as to why the Russian is still in contention.