2018 FIA Formula 2 champion George Russell admits he is excited to be teaming up with Robert Kubica within the Williams F1 Team line-up for his rookie Formula 1 campaign in 2019, and he feels both can offer the team a lot of knowledge as they look to turn around their recent form.
Russell, a protégé of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, will step into a race seat for the first time this year after a couple of years as a test driver with Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and with the Sahara Force India F1 Team, with whom he made a couple of free practice outings in 2017.
Kubica meanwhile is back in Formula 1 after an enforced layoff following his horror rallying crash just prior to the 2011 season and has been a test driver with both Williams and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in recent years, and Russell is pleased to be going up against someone with a lot of ‘natural talent’ that he can see will have a positive effect for Williams.
“I’m really excited to be team-mates with Robert,” Russell is quoted as saying by Crash.net. “I think obviously there is no doubt about his natural talent.
“He’s extremely motivated and has huge knowledge about the car on the technical side, and I think obviously it’s no secret of a tough year for Williams in 2018. I think with his experience and my knowledge of my experience at Mercedes, I think we have a huge amount to bring to the team.
“He’s a fantastic guy off the circuit. He’s extremely knowledgeable on the engineering side, and his speed and talent is unquestionable. I really wanted a team-mate like Robert to go up against and show what I am capable of.”
Russell says there is clear ambitions for Williams in 2019 after such a dreadful campaign in 2018 that saw Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin score seven points between them across the twenty-one-round season, and he feels working together with Kubica will benefit the team.
“I think our targets next season are very clear, and that’s to get Williams back to fighting into the points and the top of the midfield,” added the Briton. “I think we want to be recognised, we want to be putting in good results.
“If I’m beating my team-mate but it’s for last position, there’s no joy or glory for anybody. Myself and Robert will be working really hard together, firstly to get the team to where they deserve to be, and then we’ll see how the results are after that.”