George Russell, ART, Sochi, F2, 2018

Russell handed F1 debut in place of Stroll at Williams for 2019

2019 F1 season

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George Russell will make his Formula 1 debut with Williams next year, the team has announced.

RaceFans understands from a source at the team the Mercedes-backed 20-year-old will take the place of Lance Stroll.

Stroll’s father Lawrence invested in Force India earlier this year and he is expected to join his father’s team in 2019.

Russell is the reigning GP3 champion and is leading the Formula Two standings with two races to go. Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said the team has “always tried to promote and develop young talent and George fits that ethos perfectly.

“He is already highly regarded in the paddock and a driver whose career we have been watching for a while. In the time we have spent with him so far, we believe that he will be a great fit for our team; his commitment, passion and dedication is exactly what we need to drive the positive momentum building at Grove as we focus on the future.”

Williams has hired Russell on a “multi-year” deal. His appointment increases the likelihood fellow Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon will be without a seat next year.

RaceFans understands Ocon was unwilling to commit to Williams for more than a single season. He could be in the frame for a promotion to Mercedes at the end of 2019 when the team’s option on Valtteri Bottas comes up for renewal.

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George Russell, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Russell has tested for Force India and Mercedes
Another driver in the frame for the Williams seat was Russell’s F2 rival Artem Markelov. Williams had talks with the Renault test driver but failed to reach a deal. Markelov’s father Valery was arrested in Russia earlier this month over a bribery charge involving Russian Railways, which has funded Artem’s F2 career.

Russell described his opportunity to drive for the former world champions as a “huge honour”.

“Formula One has been a lifelong dream. From watching the races when I was a child, it feels surreal that I will now be lining up on the grid, alongside drivers whom I have admired for years. I would like to thank Claire and everyone at Williams for their faith in making this decision, as well as Toto [Wolff] and the team at Mercedes for their fantastic support throughout GP3 and Formula 2.

“I am incredibly excited to start working with everyone at Grove and to take my first steps as a Formula One race driver. I cannot wait for Melbourne next year and to join Williams at the start of what we all believe will be the start of an exciting new journey.”

Russell will join fellow British racer Lando Norris making his F1 debut next year. He will be the third driver to make his debut for Williams in as many years, following Stroll (2017) and Sergey Sirotkin (2018).

View the updated list of 2018 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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121 comments on “Russell handed F1 debut in place of Stroll at Williams for 2019”

  1. Good for him. But that this means Ocon will be without a seat is truly farcical. And frankly, it says a lot about modern F1 that both Mercedes and Williams found Russell to be the more ‘marketable’ driver.

    1. Surely they’d have confirmed him alongside Sirotkin if it was a definite?

    2. @hahostolze This is because Williams do not want to take Ocon for one season. With Russell it will be minimum two seasons – the “multi year “ reference is made in the Press Release. Nothing to do with ‘marketability’. If Ocon had been available for two or more seasons then Russell would probably have been reserve driver at Mercedes.

      1. What makes you think that Ocon wasn’t available for 2 season? Or 3, or 5? He doesn’t even have a seat secure for next year and yet you believe that he has a secured one for 2020… in case you haven’t notice, Mercedes is already ditching him.

        1. Sensing a bit of ill-feeling towards Ocon and I think it’s skewing your views a tad.

          A 2 year deal for a debuting driver at a lower team gives him enough time to develop his skills in F1, and buys Mercedes more time to make plans for Russell/Ocon.

          Having Ocon sign a multi-year deal for Williams makes no sense, and would be a complete waste of his already developed talent. It actually makes more sense for him to sit the year out and see what happens the following year ie. perhaps a 2nd seat at Mercedes.

          1. Well, I really can’t stand that guy, but I don’t think I’m biased because of that.

            I really think Mercedes is turning their back at him.


            I’m just surprised how everyone seems to love and praise this driver that has caused more trouble than success

          2. What if Lewis does a ‘Rosberg’ at the end of this year? Maybe Wolff does know more then we do…

      2. @ju88sy well, neither one of us is an insider. I will defer to what I have read in multiple sources, including AMuS and other media, confirming that Ocon was offered Williams too on any number of seasons and Williams chose Russell, partly at the urging of Mercedes, because the British market is far more important for them, and they think (wrongly, IMO) that it’s likely Russell won’t be worse than Ocon. So I’ll gladly keep believing that, you do you.

        1. @hahostolze I have heard Joe Saward reference the British connection over the summer. The multi-year comment came directly from Will Buxton, on the pre-race Paddock Pass video for Suzuka as the internally expressed preference of Williams.

          1. In last couple days joe saward through up the possibility of a kubica-russell lineup at Williams. First piece of the puzzle complete.

    3. Indeed, @hahostolze.
      Ocon is a proven talent and expected to be ready earlier for the big team than Russell.

      And I always expected that Ocon would still have a chance at Mercedes (contracts don’t mean that much), but Bottas showed in Russia that he can be a fast driver as well.

      1. @coldfly I don’t really get a vibe from Mercedes that they want to replace Bottas. I get the feeling they are quite happy to have found a driver that is fast but still willing to play Rubens. All this talk from Toto, i think he’s glad to be rid of the in-fighting from the Rosberg days. Or are these speculations over what happens when Hamilton leaves?

        1. I think in an ideal world for Mercedes, you’d put Ocon alongside Hamilton in 2020, then if Hamilton retires/moves on (big if), have Russell alongside Ocon at Merc.

        2. georgeboole (@)
          12th October 2018, 13:07

          I tend to believe that Hamilton wants to end his carrer in Ferrari. Especially if Vettel leaves soon he ll grab the chance to prove that he can be successfull in a red car

          1. I tend to believe that Hamilton wants to end his carrer in Ferrari

            @georgeboole Just like Schumacher, Alonso and Räikkönen (twice) before him :D

          2. Interesting list; it seems that there is always something ‘after Ferrari’.

          3. georgeboole (@)
            12th October 2018, 20:53

            @mrboerns @coldfly didnt think it that way but its an interesting point of view.
            At least i hope the “after Ferrari” is not a McLaren. Schumacher and Raikkonen made far more decent choices

        3. @mrboerns I don’t think TW is glad to be rid of the in-fighting from the Rosberg days. His memories of those days will always be of Nico and Lewis absolutely dominating and locking up the front row most of the time. What a problem to have, eh? I will always respect TW for letting them race, for he knew that if he didn’t, then the globe would be in for just more of the same we got from MS/Ferrari…no racing in the pinnacle of racing, between the two drivers with the WDC/WCC car. TW offered us the opposite of MS/Ferrari and I think we should all be grateful for that. Some of the in-fighting was always to be expected. As if there was never going to be at least some degree of tension at times, and then combine that with the longstanding history between LH and NR, and I think ultimately nothing they did together at Mercedes should have been a surprise, and indeed TW and Mercedes managed it. They had re-signed Nico through 2018, so they obviously wanted more of the rivalry, not less.

          The difference now is that his hand was forced to take VB who was never going to match Nico at least initially, while at the same time Seb started to be a bother to the Mercedes cars. Hence the leaning toward team orders when Ferrari is willing to do it, and when Merc were no longer locking out the front row ala LH/NR.

          Sure we heard comments upon VB’s arrival that things were calmer and quieter on the team, but TW had to also see there was now a chink in the armour and Ferrari started making inroads. Methinks TW wouldn’t mind rather having ownership of the front row again, like they seem to have again now, and if he has to have the odd stern talking to with his drivers, small price to pay for dominance. And I don’t think TW is any happier hanging VB out to dry with orders, than he is having to get them to keep it together on the track with each other and not fight too much while they lock out the competition. As he has said many times, they are all racers at heart. Ordering a driver to not race in the pinnacle of racing is never ideal. Prudent due to the math at times, sure, but then when the math dictates it an order becomes unnecessary as things become a no-brainer. The one driver just isn’t in the fight. TW would prefer both his drivers be in the fight ahead of all others I’m sure.

          1. Just to add, after having to cede his position to LH a couple of races ago, VB acknowledged he can only look forward to next year, implying they will start next season at zero again, and then it will be a fresh opportunity for him to stamp his authority on the team. That would then mean a rivalry at Merc, not a one and a two driver, and as TW has put it moreso last year than this year, if VB is to actually take the fight to LH, then the gloves will have to come off, and there goes the love-in anyway. For VB to succeed he’s going to have to make LH unhappy at times if not all season. I don’t see that happening but the point is it will take for them to be a bit more like enemies rather than friends for that to happen…ala LH/NR. This is why I don’t always buy into rhetoric that a team should find drivers that get along and work well together. Sure that is part of what helps a team advance, but at some point they have to be out their racing for themselves too and the gloves may have to come off and some tension might have to creep in. And that all adds to the show, no? I know I don’t watch F1 to see “after you…no, no after you kind sir.”

      2. What has Ocon proven that others haven’t ? First half season he was always behind Wherlein who is not even in F1 anymore. Second full season behind his teammate by some 15 points. Third full season he sits behind his teammate by four points. Excellent drivers should prove to be ahead of teammates immediately.

        1. This
          Ocon is a very good driver but his record to date does not indicate he is Tier 1.

    4. To be honest Ocon to Williams probably wouldn’t do him any favours in the long term. Better to sit out 2019 and get a decent drive if possible in 2020. The paddock won’t forget his talent in the space of a single year. It’s just been a little unfortunate. I expect him at Mercedes in 2020 to be honest.

      1. “To be honest” to start and end your speculation? It adds nothing.

  2. Hopefully Ocon will get a seat. Congrats to Russell for getting it, he deserves it.

  3. So Ocon gets stabbed in the back by his own employee….. The driver who should have the Mercedes seat Bottas is in, has nothing. Well done Mercedes!

    Good for Williams, 0,5 second gained at least, just by putting another driver in the car.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      12th October 2018, 14:55

      Did you conveniently gloss over the part where Ocon refused to go for anything more than a 1 year deal? Teams have the right not to be treated as a stop gap as well you know.

      1. That was my reading of what was written too.

  4. Mercedes cannot dictate to Williams who they should hire. As the stiory unfolds it will become clearer why Williams has chosen him. the dollars will spill the beans

  5. Now they just need to announce Ocon next to him and Williams will be considered an F1 team again

    1. @johnmilk A Mercedes B-team, in that case…

      1. @keithcollantine it so happens that the best talent available belongs to Mercedes, that’s a lineup that I’ve been “preaching” for a while, for some reason that detail didn’t come to my train of thought. Surely they can have them both without the B-team moniker no? Please?

        Anyway, if they don’t go with Ocon, it will be a pay driver, Sirotkin or Markelov I’m afraid

      2. Well, in terms of the driver line-up I’d rather a B-team with Ocon and Russel than an A-team with Sirotkin and Merkelov.

      3. Way better than they are now.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      12th October 2018, 14:57

      Best thing for Williams performance would be to take Russel, Ocon AND a Mercedes gearbox for next year but apparently Claire is only willing to take 1/3 and thus they won’t be any further up the grid or in public estimation than they are now i’m afraid.

  6. I’m happy that he’s going to get a shot in F1 although at the same time not so glad that now this decision as a side-effect reduces Ocon’s chances for a Williams-drive even more. I wish he’d get the remaining seat there, but I don’t hold too much hope for it especially now following this announcement/confirmation. If not him then hopefully Sirotkin would be retained.

  7. Who is Bottas sleeping with that he keeps a seat at Mercedes ahead of Ocon…

    Has there been a less inspiring F1 driver. What a farce.

    1. When we went from having Hamilton vs. Alonso at McLaren to Hamilton vs. Kovaleinen. Was an even bigger waste of a seat, was good ol’ Heikki.

    2. Are you unaware that Mercedes signed Bottas for 2019 earlier in the season? The Bottas deal was completed at a point in the season when Ocon was looking ‘certain’ to move to Renault on a deal that had been agreed at senior level, albeit the contract was not completed.

      1. Totally agree with @Ju88sy. Ocon missed out on the Renault seat after RIC got the big contract there.

        And Mercedes is happy with Bottas because of his chemistry with Lewis. He brings in enough points for the constructorchampionship and accepts teamorders. It’s risky to switch to another driver (like Ocon), who wants to be the nr 1 driver, and pptentially have the Rosberg situation all over again.

      2. Contracts can be broken.

      3. Well as Toto apparently had struck a deal with both Peugeot and McLaren you can wonder how much of a deal it was.

        1. I am not sure why there is this automatic assumption that Ocon is a much better driver than Bottas. I have not seen sufficient evidence of this. He’s no Verstappen based on what I have been watching.

          I think he is definitely good enough to deserve a place on the grid though.

          1. It doesnt take an Verstappen to be much better than Bottas.

    3. Richard Gibson
      12th October 2018, 18:48

      What makes you so sure Ocon is better than Bottas. Ocon’s 4 places behind Perez in the WDC

      1. and 15 points behind Perez last year. And always behind Werlhein in his first year. Ocon haven’t shown good pace in races. So far, he is highly overrated judging by results …

    4. Are you forgetting that at the time he was signed for 2019, had it not been for abysmal luck (debris blowing tyre etc) Bottas would’ve been leading the WDC by some margin and would still be within a few points of Hamilton now?

  8. Good for Russell, I’m happy with this, Ocon deserves being left out, ever since he arrived to the F1 has been acting like he is the rightful heir of Mercedes, stating several times that it didn’t matter whatever happened at FI, because he was there only temporarily until he claimed his Mercedes seat. His arrogance has costed him.

    1. Interesting, I know he was under Toto’s wing, but has he really been arrogant? I haven’t seen much on that. Seems like a nice guy other than his spats with Perez (which is understandable).

      1. I’m a FI fan, at first I thought that this was a really nice kid, but he has been showing his true self over and over, unfortunately every time he was frustrated with the team due to the clashes with Perez, he would always recur and say that it didn’t matter because he was a Mercedes driver (specially last season, not so much this one to be honest)

        1. @drrapg This is the first time i’ve ever heard of this (got any sources) – are you sure you’re not conflating him with Wehrlein, who FI passed over for Ocon because of his [PW’s] attitude?

          1. Nope, I’m positive it has been Ocon’s attitude in the past at least. I will try and find sources, if I do, I will post them


            This is just an example of that, phrases like “The bosses [at Mercedes] have plans for me that are ‘not yet’, and, “If I stay here [Force India] or go somewhere else, I don’t know.
            “But I will have a great position for sure next year.”

            He has never felt FI colors, he has never cared about the team he belonged in that moment, he has been acting like the biggest shot out there (and he is good, just not that good) and just looking out for him

          3. Nothing wrong with dreaming of a Mercedes seat, seems a bit harsh. Ocon seems to come across pretty well to me, always chatting to Stroll before races despite him effectively being responsible for the loss of seat. His demeanor in dealing with Perez, especially after the Singapore disgrace has also been commendable.

            I don’t agree.

  9. Second seat still not confirmed yet… is there still an outside chance Ocon could get it? Does Russell bring much money with him?

    As a lifelong Williams fan, i’m happy that the sum total of driver talent in the team has just shot up! A driver who’s hat I won’t be embarrassed to buy when it comes to refreshing my yearly Williams branded cap…

    1. curious to know, which one you got this year

      1. I bought a Williams cap this year. I found one with no driver name on it (I love Williams despite the state of them at the moment but don’t support either of the 2018 drivers) I also managed to find one without Martini on it so it wouldn’t look too out of date in 6 months!!

      2. Hopefully Sirotkin

        1. Kubica doesn’t have a hat?

      3. non driver branded team cap, but deffo would have got a Kubica one if I had seen one; not sure they exist!?

        1. they don’t @travis-daye just checked on their official store

    2. Second one will go to someone with budget so no hope for Ocon there. However it is exactly what used to work for FI with Perez bringing considerable sponsorship with him. Let’s hope that Williams can find eqauly capable pay driver.

  10. Great news. Now let’s hope Ocon gets the other seat.
    Unless Mercedes are keeping him on the bench so he can join the works team mid-season if Bottas underperforms next year…

    1. @olliej

      Bottas’ place at Mercedes will be similar to Raikonnens place at Ferrari as long as the #1 driver performs. So, as long is Hamilton is preforming well for Mercedes and they are winning both championships, then Bottas should hang on to his seat for eternity. If Lewis starts underperforming like Sebastian has, the they’ll shuffle the lineup and get in the next Mercedes driver in the wings.

      I think the only way Ocon can get back in F1, is by leaving the Mercedes stable

      1. …Which he’s already pretty confirmed will end his career as he doesn’t have the personal backing to support him.

        1. Ocon could easily go down the Wehrlein route. In Russell really impresses next year, it could be disastrous for Ocon. Kind of sad, because he’s easily better than half the drivers on the grid, but the need for pay drivers in the midfield teams is killing more deserving driver’s careers.

      2. Not sure about that. This is the team that had the Rosberg Hamilton pairing for three years pretty recently.
        I think by hook or by crook Ocon will be at Mercedes in 2020.

        1. I’m not sure how much more of an upgrade Ocon is as compared to Bottas. Not sure if it’s worth the risk of changing a successful line up because of it.

          It also depends on how much of a performance Mercedes has on its rivals. If they enjoy a 2014 to 2016 kind of advantage, then they can afford to have a stronger 2nd driver who will battle Lewis.

    2. Ocon overlooked by 5th team in a row, but some “experts” saying will be a F1 Mercedes works team driver ? Hilarious

      Ocon is very good but Perez always ahead of him, even is no surprise as Perez is the best of all the rest for several seasons now, doubt Ocon can do better than Bottas

    3. Ocon wont be in the other seat. I just hope 1-2 years out of F1 doesn’t ruin it for him forever. Ocon deserves to be in F1, but to replace Bottas at Mercedes? im not sure of that. Anyone who partners Hamilton is always going to struggle

  11. Why Russell ahead of Ocon? Does Russell bring any extra backing with him?

    1. @mashiat Because Williams do not want to sign a driver for only one season, I think this has been widely commented on if I remember correctly in one of Will Buxton’s Paddock pass videos. Russell was an attractive prospect with availability for ‘multi year’ contract per the press release.

    2. @mashiat

      I think Mercedes is deciding on that 2nd seat… And they picked Russell over Ocon.

      1. @todfod Surely this must mean that Mercedes will promote Ocon for 2020? Unless Bottas does something truly special last season (although I doubt he has it in him). Let’s be honest, Bottas’ renewal was probably on the back of a positive first third to the season. So unless he can that the very least replicate that next season, I can see Mercedes returning him back to Williams citing “faulty item that doesn’t deliver expected performance” as the reason.

        1. @mashiat

          To be honest, Mercedes had a chance of promoting Wehrlein to Mercedes in 2017, but passed up on their best available young driver for a safe pair of hands. I think Bottas is a safe choice because he works well with Hamilton, and as a team they are still winning both championships. So why change a winning formula?

          I don’t see them dumping Bottas for Ocon in 2020 either unless Bottas massively underperforms and messes up their constructors championship. I think if Russell impresses next season (like Leclerc has), then it’s most probably game over for Ocon in F1.

          Mercedes should do Ocon a favour and release him from the Mercedes contract. He should have a good shot at that seat at Toro Rosso if he’s not associated with Mercedes.

          1. @todfod I think Leclerc might be the reason for Mercedes pushing Bottas out in pursuit of someone quicker. If Ferrari manage to produce another car that can compete with Mercedes, or even quicker like they were for most of this season, they won’t be able to rely on Raikkonen dragging down Ferrari’s chance of a WCC. If Ferrari have Leclerc and Vettel (who I think are both better than Bottas), the constructor’s championship could definitely become much closer, leading Mercedes to getting a quicker driver in. Mercedes haven’t really had to worry too much about their WCC before, as Hamilton is better than Vettel, and Bottas is better than Raikkonen. But if Bottas if no longer better than Ferrari’s 2nd driver, whoever that may be, I have a feeling Mercedes will draft in Ocon.

          2. Sorry, but Ocon is no Wehrlein. He’s matured very quickly in a mid-field team, competing very well against Perez.

          3. @mashiat

            Completely agree with your statement. If Leclerc proves to be really competitive and Ferrari look like a bigger threat because of it, then I expect Mercedes to be on the lookout for a driver who can match or better either Leclerc or Vettel.

            Whether Ocon is that man… That’s another question.

  12. Good that he got the seat, the guy seems pretty good and seems like a good step forward of talent for Williams. Russell in a Williams, Norris in a McLaren… so two British talents are going to be in two British teams, and going from fighting each other at the front in F2 to fighting each other at the bottom of F1? Cool. Sounds like the beginnings of a fun rivalry.

    I don’t think Sirotkin is particularly terrible and with a better car could be a good bet – but if given the choice of Sirotkin or Ocon, or Kubica, I’d take either of them first.

  13. Oh snappppp!! Sad for Ocon, but glad to see talent prevail!

  14. He brings money obviously! Wait until you hear how much!
    Bad news for Ocon and Kubica.

  15. Driving in circles
    12th October 2018, 11:44

    Ocon will become test driver for Mercedes and be promoted in 2020 …

  16. Russel V Norris
    There could be some racing at the back if both cars turn out to be similar.

  17. As Ocon seems to have a flaw of putting his car whilst passing a teammate into 50-50 positions, I’m not sure Mercedes would want him to support Hamilton.

  18. I am pretty sure, that Ocon will drive for Mercedes in 2020. He will be part of the team during the next season and will be aware of everything inside the team and the development of the car. Also, I believe that Bottas is not the same guy anymore (after Russia) and his confidence is at a record low. Of course, there is a chance for change of fortune, but we could expect similar situations with him next year too and maybe even Bottas itself will decide to leave the team.

    1. Yes 5 teams didn’t take Ocon but the Champions will, are you serious ? Ocon is very good but didn’t impress cause Perez own him, well with everyone else outside the top teams to be fair

  19. Willem Cecchi (@)
    12th October 2018, 12:22

    Kubica hype train ready to depart.

    1. he really is at a arms reach isn’t he?

  20. Finally Toto managed something. I am hoping Williams negotiated a massive discount on engines.

    Other factors aside, good luck to George. A GP2 champion deserves a seat in F1.

  21. I hope Williams dump Sirotkin now. No points, total pay driver. With the money they will receive from Stroll to buy out his contract, and 10million from kubicas backing, surely they can now sign Kubica for 2019?

    1. He does have a point actually, and has convincingly outqualified Stroll. Regarding Kubica… Well, he’s already proven to be slower than Sirotkin so you can give up on that.

      1. How is kubica proven slower than stroll??? Lol kubica is an f1 race winner, best driver of 2010 in f1. Sirotkin can’t even score 1 f1 point with $25 million backing! . Don’t judge testing lap times.

        1. As you may or may not have heard, Kubica almost lost one arm. Then sat out of F1 due to these terrible injuries for seven years. These two things do tend to take a person’s off their peak. I am a big Kubica fan, but teams also have to be realistic.

          Having said that, I really wish he got the seat at Williams.

        2. Proven slower than Sirotkin because otherwise he would have been in the seat. Renault rejected him too. And he wasn’t that good in 2010, the Renault was a great car (some teams said it was probably the best car at circuits like Monaco). Oh and you’re wrong, Sirotkin does have a point.

        3. kpcart, that is the thing – you are basing your assessment of Kubica on his performances from nearly a decade ago and not taking into account the significant loss of dexterity in his right arm (people have focussed on the question of strength, but it sounds as if the issue of dexterity is more of an issue).

          After all, Alessandro Nannini – also a race winning driver in his own right, and a driver who was getting a lot of interest given he was performing very creditably against the 3 time WDC winning driver Piquet Sr – went through a very similar experience in the 1990s after he had his right arm partially severed in an accident at a similar age and point in his career to Kubica. He also went through a similar rehabilitation regime, but although he was able to test drive cars, he was never able to make a fully competitive return to racing in F1 again.

          Equally, when driving at BMW-Sauber, a comparison shows that Kubica ultimately came off worse against Heidfeld – out of 52 races, Heidfeld beat Kubica 29-23, outscored him (140 points to 131) and outranked him in two of their three seasons together. As for that single race win that Kubica had, that only came about because BMW-Sauber ordered Heidfeld, who had been leading the 2008 Canadian GP, to give up his position, and ultimately the win, to Kubica – though the whole issue of “team orders” is usually conveniently glossed over.

          I mean, if Kubica was as amazing as you say he was, how good was Heidfeld then if the long term records show that Heidfeld was actually the more successful driver of the two when they raced together?

          1. Great post.

            Too many people buy into the romanticism instead of checking facts.

    2. I’ve been following Sirotkin’s performance closely this year, and I must say I’ve been impressed, while by no means has he dominated Stroll in races I’ve noticed a trend of weaker strategies being used on Sergey, the exclusion being Singapore, let’s not forget that at the two tracks Stroll scored points he also drove brilliantly there in 2017. So not the best driver in the world but partner this with Sirotkins technical knowledge and I see a perfect driver to bring Williams back into the midfield

  22. Who remembers 2002? Alonso took a year out of f1 after a brilliant rookie year and became a Renault test driver for a year, before moving up to a full race drive at Renault, 2 years later he was world champion. That is Ocon hope. If Ocon drives for Williams, he could be remembered like Vandoorne, or werhlein. He is young and better off a 3rd driver in a top team for a year.

    1. Also, I don’t remember much hype about Ocon until this season, and especially oy once when they said stroll would replace him. I think he is a midfield level driver (and stroll not f1 level). The Ocon thing seems like a hype train that no one expected last year. I don’t think any of the current young gen drivers are as good as the early 2000s young drivers like alonso, Hamilton, vettel, kubica

      1. Ocon certainly seems good, but I suspect thats not whats required. Everyones looking for stars, the next kimi, alonso, hamilton, vettel, verstappen. Good, just isnt good enough.
        Ferrari think they have it with leclerc and i hope they have, the order needs a shake. If another early 20s star cannot be found, merc risk RBR coming good with verstappen at the wheel and ferrari with leclerc….. meaning there is no star driver to make the diference at MB ( uness RBR hondadont come good in which case they can pay verstappen Lewis’ money)

  23. Good news, hopefully Sirotkin will retain his seat and Williams will be quite exciting next year. If they can produce a non-embarrassing car, of course. Most of the comments here seem to be about Ocon – well, he deservedly finished behind his teammate last year, and looks like deservedly finishing behind him this year too. Not sure why people think he’s so impressive. Decent qualifier, yes, but worse race pace than Perez and a penchant for bone-headed moves, particularly on the first lap (although both FI drivers are guilty of that). Certainly don’t think Mercedes would put him in their car for 2020 with his current track record.

    1. Why sirotkin? He has shown Nothing, other than being a match for another pay driver in qualifying. 0 points

      1. 1 point actually. He’s shown plenty, some great qualifying laps, tenacious racing and a superb head-down attitude in adversity. Not his fault the car is awful.

  24. WILLIAMS need an experienced f1 driver that knows how to give proper feedback and help with developing the car. I cant help thinking that their present driver line up lacks the depth of experience to move them forward. Although it could also be down to funding lack of engineering know how and skills. Or all of the above plus more

    1. It is easy to blame the drivers, but given the comments Kubica has made about how difficult and unpredictable the handling balance of the car is, it sounds like the blame really has to lie with the designers.

      As has been pointed out in the past, before Sirotkin entered F1, he was held in fairly good regard in Formula 2 for the quality of his feedback – his dissertation was on the topic of setting up a single seater racing car, after all, so he is no fool in that regard.

      A number of the problems which have also been mentioned in respect to Williams’s current car are also things which the driver can’t really control, such as unpredictable stalling of the rear wing in yaw conditions.

      Indeed, in the past Kubica has also commented that he was shocked at how bad the handling balance of the car is, and he seemed to be struggling just as much as the regular drivers were to work out why the handling was as poor as it currently is (I believe he admitted that, when he drove the car during the Spanish GP practise sessions, he was relieved that he didn’t end up crashing given that the car was behaving so erratically).

  25. Oh well… Finally Williams made an reasonable decision. Bravo. Please just dump those so called ”drivers” or rather say rich douchbags and employ someone with more experience and talent. I’m thinking about Kubica alongside Russell and we are ready to go :)

    1. The same Kubica who was proven to be slower than Sirotkin and was rejected by Renault as well? And doesn’t have any experience relevant to the current cars?

      1. Don’t understand why anyone would want to see Kubica race again. If you want an aging driver call Coulthard, Barrichello or Massa, who all could outpace Kubica. And how long will Daddy Stroll keep Lance? Racing Point still needs to score points by both drivers Maybe Daddy will replace Perez with Vandoorne so Lance can at least beat his teammate now and then.

        1. Because kubica is the best in the world type driver, like senna, alonso hamilton

          1. Oh, please.

  26. I love the fact that we will have Lando and Russell on the grid, even if at the back. In 20 years, maybe we’ll reflect on the 2019 Australian GP as the start of a new era.

    I don’t see the big deal about Ocon missing a year. It happens. Alonso in 2002, Hulk in 2011. He will be back.

  27. Hopefully Kubica is promoted to no 1 seat.

    Williams NEED a proven team leader, race winner and championship challenger so Kubica would be perfect to steer them out of the dark times.

  28. Ocon will get Lewis’s seat. Congrats on the Fifth championship and retirement.

  29. Calm down everyone. Ocon will be MB’s test and reserve driver next year, then promoted in 2020. We will have both him and Russell in F1.

    1. Yup – seems the most logical.

    2. Look at Verstappen or even a Le Clerc, that’s what a next star progression should look like, sitting out one year cause no team will take him to land the champion car ?
      I disagree

  30. So with all this excitement about Russel and Norris, what happens if they perform as well as Vandoorne?

    1. The excitement is cos they are British. Sick of it to be honest. Where is lando in f2 standings? It’s this weird English speaking world desire to find the next Ayrton senna, a hero. I’m lucky I can speak other languages and look at motor sport sites that are not just English influenced. I can see a Massive desire for the old middle world to have either a French or English motorsport hero. My Polish hero Kubica has done more than any in motorsport and to me is the definition of a motorsport hero

    2. They’ve been fighting for junior championships (and in Russell’s case, won the F2 championship). Usually that means something (though some vintages of F3000 and GP2 weren’t considered very highly by F1 teams).

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