Mercedes signs Russell to F1 young driver program

George Russell

Mercedes has confirmed the signing of rising star George Russell to its Formula 1 young driver program.

The 18 year-old Brit will fill the void at the world champion team left by junior drivers Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, who have since joined Force India and Sauber respectively.

Russell, a BRDC Formula 4 champion, has been steadily moving up the ranks competing in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship for the last two seasons.

After finishing third in the championship last year, the teenager will graduate to GP3 this season with the top ART Grand Prix operation.

Russell has already commenced simulator work for the Brackley squad and is expected to be called upon for young driver tests.

“It’s great to be part of the Junior Programme,” said Russell.

“It is an incredibly opportunity to have the backing of the Formula 1 world champions.

“I’ve started doing some work with the team in the simulator and it’s already become clear to me that I’m working with people who are the best in the business, who I know will help me develop as a driver and as a person.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Russell has the potential to progress further up the single seater ladder.

“George has shown impressive form in the junior categories and we’ve been keeping a close eye on him for a while now,” added Wolff.

“It’s still early days in his career but we see great potential in him.”

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