Mercedes junior driver, George Russell could be set for an F1 debut in the 2019 season, as their customer team, Williams, could have a drive vacant if at all Lance Stroll moves to Force India.
Russell has impressed one and all in the F2 championship this season, taking four victories and three podiums to lead the standings ahead of countryman and McLaren junior, Lando Norris, by 12 points.
The leap is not unheard of in the sport. Charles Leclerc, who won the F2 championship last season and the GP3 title before that, made the switch to F1 with Ferrari’s customer team, Sauber and describing his drives this season as brilliant would be an understatement.
Williams have made the decision to buy Mercedes gear-boxes starting next season, in addition to the engines for which they already had a deal in place. The move for Russell could be a positive step in the partnership.
This switch has been mooted as rumours of Lance Stroll’s father, Lawrence Stroll, buying Force India intensify. The team has been placed into administration and the Canadian businessman could be their only shining light.
As a result, Lance has been linked with a move to them, both as the son of an owner and also as a means to further his own career prospects, as the Williams team struggles badly with their car design and lack of pace.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, had high praise for his academy youngster. “George is doing a great job this year in Formula Two, leading the championship right now in spite of some setbacks, and there’s lots of interest in him for all the right reasons”, said Wolff.
“We don’t have free seats at Mercedes in the foreseeable future but he is one of our young guys, and we will be looking at all options for how he could make the step to F1 for next year.”