Sylvan Adams – Canadian-Israeli philanthropist and backer of Williams development driver and F1 hopeful Roy Nissany – is targeting World Championship success from his involvement with the team.
With Adams’ support Tel-Aviv born Nissany was announced as Williams development driver in January 2020 and with it became a poster boy for the charge by Israel and wealthy Israelis to promote their nation’s merits in front of a global audience.
“My projects are reaching over the media to reach people, regular people and just show them the country” Adams told Motorsport Magazine.
“To say, ‘Look, there we are, this is what we are in a rough neighbourhood, a very open, tolerant democratic society and we do interesting things.'”
Along with financial support for Nissany, Adams also provides funding for the Israeli Spacex Beresheet Moon Rocket programme, the Israel baseball team entered into next year’s Olympics, stages of the Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv and even Madonna’s performance at Eurovision, is committed full-time to promoting Israel’s image around the world, and that now includes Formula 1.
It’s perfectly understandable that Sylvan Adams would seek an Israeli driver with which to further Israel’s cause in F1, so Nissany’s arrival on the racing scene is a timely one with the dearth of Israeli racing drivers over the years such that it doesn’t even warrant a section on the ‘Israeli sportsmen’ Wikipedia page.
But Adams’ ambitions don’t end with Israeli representation in F1. He wants more.
“The ultimate goal is to win a drivers championship. Roy is a winner, why should we set our bar lower than that?”
“The fast track plan is for Roy to be an actual F1 driver by 2021. I think we’ve got a winner here, so for me the bar is very high.”
“Williams tested him and they came away so impressed with two things: his actual driving skill and his communication skills.”
“[Williams] told me they hadn’t seen a young driver with that kind of poise and cerebral understanding and communication skills to give them back this kind of feedback.”
“I’m super-excited. For me it was validation hearing the engineers of Williams talk about Roy and extolling his qualities and virtues. I had a notion that he was pretty good and now I really am extremely confident this kid is going places.”
Adams support extends to Williams too – it doesn’t end with Nissany, hinting at greater involvement between the two parties in future.
“We’re planning to drop anchor at Williams and earn all of our success with Williams.”
“I think that Claire Williams is determined to restore Williams to its former glory. When we combine forces together, we can conquer the world.”
Clearly Sylvan Adams isn’t phased by Nissany’s poor showing in F2 last time out (one top ten finish in 20 races), and a lack of superlicense points that would prohibit him from competing in Formula 1 in 2021 unless he finishes the 2020 F2 championship in the top four.
(An interesting aside is that Nissany will be competing against Williams stablemates Jack Aitken and Dan Ticktum, and also Nikita Mazepin – many people’s tip for a future Williams drive).
This either points to a supreme confidence in his driver (good), or a blinkered optimism that could end in disaster (bad). Time will tell which it is.