Williams confirmed Friday that George Russell will drive for the team in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship.
Russell will fill the seat of Lance Stroll who is expected to replace Esteban Ocon at Force India next season. Stroll’s father, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, heads a consortium of investors that took over the team earlier this year.
As for Russell, the British youngster is currently a reserve driver for Mercedes-AMG, which has been keen to find him a seat following an impressive Formula 2 season this year—he’s currently leading the season. He also won the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in 2014 and the GP3 Series in 2017, with both occasions being a first attempt.
“Formula 1 has been a life-long dream,” he said. “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.”
While Stroll is confirmed to be leaving the team next season, Williams is yet to announce plans for its other driver, Sergey Sirotkin, who was a rookie this season. Unfortunately for him, Williams’ car is one of the slowest on the grid this season. Sirotkin is currently in last place in the 2018 Drivers’ Championship with one point. Stroll is three places ahead with six points.
Alfa Romeo Sauber and McLaren have also picked rookie drivers for the 2019 season. Joining Sauber next season will be Italian Antonio Giovinazzi as the replacement for Marcus Ericsson, and at McLaren will be British driver Lando Norris who replaces Stoffel Vandoorne.
And finally, Russian driver Daniil Kvyat will return to F1 next season as a driver for Toro Rosso. He will replace Pierre Gasly who is confirmed for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Toro Rosso is yet to announce whether its other driver, Brendon Hartley, will be with the team next season.