George Russell praises Ferrari's 'big shake-up' and hopes for his chance
Russell speaks to Sky F1's Rachel Brookes about F1's big transfers
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 15/05/20 10:34am
George Russell has admitted to Sky F1 that he's "a little bit jealous" of fellow young drivers earning moves to leading teams - but has backed Ferrari's decision to look to the future by pairing Carlos Sainz with Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari confirmed the 2021 signing of Sainz on Thursday after a whirlwind week in F1, kick-started by the news that Sebastian Vettel would be leaving.
Daniel Ricciardo, currently at Renault, will be replacing Sainz at McLaren.
Bringing in Sainz, 25, alongside Leclerc, 22, from next season onwards gives Ferrari their youngest driver pairing in more than 50 years, while it also provides another injection of youth to the top of the grid.
"I think it's great to be honest - mixing things up," Russell, the Williams youngster told Sky F1's Rachel Brookes.
"It's great for the fans, great for the media, great for the young guns of F1, seeing Carlos joining Ferrari. You've now got Ferrari with two youngsters, Red Bull with two youngsters, and you've got Lando there in McLaren.
"The likes of Ferrari have got to start looking to the future and with Charles and Carlos, that could potentially be their line-up for five, six, seven years to come.
"I think for any organisation having that stability is what people need, having two mega drivers side-by-side."
Russell also believes Norris, 20, will have a "win-win" at McLaren going up against Ricciardo, the former Red Bull driver with seven race wins.
"Daniel going to McLaren is going to be great for Lando and he's going to relish that challenge," commented Russell. "Having a really strong team-mate next to you, I think Lando is in a win-win situation there so that's great for him. It's exciting for the future of the sport.
"And likewise Danny's still got a number of years in him and both he and Lando again could be at McLaren for four, five, six years. I think it all makes sense."
What does 'big shake-up' mean for Russell?
Russell, 22, has been linked with a step-up to Mercedes in the past, and both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are out of contract next year.
"Obviously big shake-ups at the front of the grid changes the dynamic a bit and it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next weeks and months to see who fills the rest of the spots on the grid," Russell admitted during the Instagram Q&A.
But he also said he was contracted to the end of 2021 with Williams, adding: "The fact is I'm contracted to Williams but it's no secret I'm also contracted to Mercedes. They effectively own me and they're my managers. There's plenty of speculation, but time will tell."
Russell also paid tribute to Sainz, who has had to bide his time for a big move after spells with Toro Rosso, Renault and most recently McLaren - and says his route should inspire other drivers.
"We're all youngsters, we all want to have that successful career and victories right away, but if you're doing the job and you're performing we'll all get our chance," said the Englishman. "That's all I can do at the moment.
"Obviously seeing my mates up there in potential championship-winning cars is something I'm a little bit jealous of because I want to be up there challenging as well.
"But I know as long as I keep performing and I keep driving to the best of my ability that opportunity will come whether it's next year, two years, five years, 10 years. It should come."