Briton George Russell to join Mercedes F1 team
George Russell has been confirmed to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes F1 in 2022 after the Briton signed a long-term deal to be part of the winning world championship team.
Hamilton’s current team mate, Valtteri Bottas, announced earlier this week he will be joining Alfa Romero next season as part of a multi-year deal.
Russell, 23, who is current Mercedes’ protégé has been racing for Williams since 2019. The Briton, nicknamed ‘Mr Saturday’ for his impressive qualifying times, took his first podium position last month in the rain-curtailed event.
He said: “It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions. I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my team mates and friends at Williams. It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1.”
He added: “Looking ahead to next season, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles. My target must be to reward the trust that Toto [Wolff, Team Principal], the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud.
“Of course, one of those new team mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time. I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.
“For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team. Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022.”
Wolff, Mercedes, Team Principal said: “This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us. Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth. Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success.
“We are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes,” said Wolff. “He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1.”
Williams have yet to confirm Russell’s replacement, but is widely believed that it would be Red Bull reserve, Alex Albon, with Nicholas Latifi set to retain his seat on the other side of the garage.