According to Brazilian sports network globo.com, George Russell is close to agreeing a deal to drive for Martini Williams Racing in 2019.
George Russell, currently leading this years F2 championship, is part of the Mercedes Junior programme, and as such, financial compensation is expected to be part of the deal for Williams to allow another team’s driver one of their two race seats.
This will give the young Briton valuable time in a thoroughbred Grand Prix car and race experience ahead of his expected move to Mercedes in the near future.
From a Williams point of view, not only will the coffers be boosted at a time when funds are tight, but they’ll also have a young, exciting and more importantly talented driver at the wheel of one of their cars for the first time since Valtteri Bottas left for Mercedes (controversial!).
From a Williams fan’s perspective, it’s great to see a potential future world champion at the wheel of one of their cars. He might be lacking experience but as much as he’ll be learning on the job, if he’s as good as Mercedes seem to think he is he’ll be able to give as much back to the team in his performances.
And as a fan of British motorsport it would be great to see a British driver at the wheel of THE quintessentially British F1 team. Indeed, if Russell does secure a drive for next year, he’d be the first full-time British Williams driver since Jenson Button in 2000, and only the fifth in their entire history, following in the footsteps of Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, David Coulthard and Button himself.
His team-mate is likely to be Sergey Sirotkin with Lance Stroll almost certain to depart at the end of 2018 to take a seat in his father Lawrence’s Racing Point Force India Formula 1 team.
Who knows: maybe George Russell will bring with him a few secret engine mapping codes!