George Russell is set to compete in Formula 1 for the first time next season, and he is set to do so as a driver for Williams Racing.
George Russell, who is currently in his first season competing in Formula 2, is set to replace Lance Stroll at Williams Racing in the 2019 Formula 1 season. Stroll will likely replace Esteban Ocon at Racing Point Force India since a consortium led by his father purchased the team earlier this year.
Williams Racing are currently called Williams Martini Racing, but Martini will no longer sponsor the Grove-based team next year.
Russell is currently in his first season competing in Formula 2. He drives for ART Grand Prix and has won six of the 22 races that have been contested so far this season. He leads the driver standings by 37 points (248 to 211) over Alexander Albon with two races remaining on the schedule.
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The 20-year-old Briton advanced to Formula 2 after he won the 2017 GP3 Series in his first season driving in the series. He drove for ART Grand Prix in this season as well and competed in 14 of the 15 races that were contested. He won four of them.
Russell also competed in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship and the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Series in 2014 as well as the Formula 3 European Championship in 2015 and 2016. He won the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Championship and finished in fourth place in the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Series driver standings. He finished in sixth in the driver standings in the 2015 Formula 3 European Championship season and third in the standings in the 2016 season.
Russell test drove for Force India and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in Formula 1 last year. He has test driven for Force India this year as well.
Here is what Russell had to say about the opportunity to drive for Williams in the 2019 season, according to the BBC.
"“I have been very fortunate with the guidance and opportunity Mercedes have given me over the past two years. I have never been thrown in at the deep end. I started off with a private test in a 2015 car at the start of last year before getting the opportunity to test the 2017 car in Budapest and then into the P1 sessions with Force India. It has been a perfect progression and slope into a full-time race seat and I really feel that now I am ready for this.”"
The addition of Russell to the grid for the 2019 Formula 1 season means that three British drivers have been confirmed for next year. The other two are four-time (and likely soon-to-be five-time) champion Lewis Hamilton, who is set to return to Formula 1 for his 13th season and his seventh season driving for Mercedes, and Lando Norris, who is set to make his Formula 1 debut as the replacement for Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren.
It is likely that Sergey Sirotkin, who is currently in his first season driving for Williams and his first season driving in Formula 1, will return to the team in the 2019 season because of his substantial financial backing from SMP Racing, but this has not yet been officially confirmed.
How will George Russell perform in his first season competing in Formula 1? Will he perform at a level higher than the level at which Lance Stroll has performed in nearly two seasons driving for Williams? The 2019 season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 17, 2019 with the Australian Grand Prix.