‘Vocal’ George Russell relishes having his say in Formula One

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Williams driver George Russell says he’s excited to make a positive change in Formula One, after stepping up as director on the board of the Grand Prix Drivers Association.

Russell heads into his third season in Formula One, and takes up the role after Romain Grosjean left F1 for IndyCar. He joins fellow director Sebastian Vettel and chairman Alex Wurz on the board.

Founded in 1961, the GPDA represents the drivers’ interests, particularly focusing on safety, and the 23-year-old explained why he was so keen to take on the role.

“Firstly, I mean I wanted to take on that role because I think what the GPDA has done over so many years has been great for the sport, whenever we’ve had our debriefings between all of the drivers which, in 2019 was very common – probably once after every two Grands Prix we’d stay after the drivers’ briefing and we’d all talk about certain issues or ways we could improve the sport,” Russell said.

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“I was always quite vocal, I always quite enjoyed putting my opinion forward, and I guess having a voice for the drivers is something I’m quite proud of it to be honest.”

With a laugh he added: “I’m looking forward to that and I think I have a very good relationship with a lot of the younger drivers. I guess Sebastian is sort of representing the older half of the grid; I’m potentially representing the younger half of the grid.”

Russell is out of contract come the end of the season, however has been heavily linked with a Mercedes seat, especially after impressing at the Sakhir Grand Prix while deputising for Lewis Hamilton who was recovering from COVID-19.

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But the GPDA represents something special to Russell.

“I think for me, personally, if I can look back in 20 years’ time and say I was a part of a positive change in Formula 1,” he explained. “I think the future of Formula 1 is looking incredibly bright with Liberty, obviously now with Stefano [Domenicali] and Ross [Brawn] at the helm.

“And from our side I think the drivers are having a stronger and stronger voice to help shape that future of the sport as obviously we’re in a unique perspective to feel it from the drivers’ perspective, which is obviously a huge part of Formula 1. So I, being at the forefront with Sebastian and Alex Wurz to push forward these views of the drivers to Formula 1 towards the FIA, and if I can look back and say I was part of that, that will be something I will be proud of,” he concluded.

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