George Russell hopes to be on the Formula 1 grid in 2019 and believes if he does a good enough job in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this season, Mercedes-Benz will help find him a seat.
The Briton, the 2017 GP3 Series champion, is a protégé of Mercedes-Benz and has carried out testing duties previously with the German marquee, but his target for a race seat remains within the Sahara Force India F1 Team, the outfit that gave him two practice outings at the back end of last year.
“Force India is the place that I’m looking towards for next season,” said Russell to Motorsport.com. “We’re continuing a relationship this year and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t expand into a full-time seat next year.
“The great thing with Mercedes is they give the young drivers an opportunity if they deserve it. If I perform this season in F2 and Mercedes believe I’ve done a good enough job to justify an F1 seat, they will find a seat for me.”
Russell has been tipped to test again with Force India this season despite the Silverstone-based outfit bringing in Nicholas Latifi as reserve driver and retaining Nikita Mazepin as development driver, and the Briton says he sees no reason why the relationship with the team will not grow throughout the year, although his priority will always be his commitments in Formula 2.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t continue to build on that relationship throughout this season,” said Russell. “Mercedes are fully behind me with that thought, but we are both on the same page in saying that Formula 2 is my main priority and focus.
“It’s very easy in my position to get caught up in the F1 dream and forgetting about going out and winning F2.”