Williams confirm Russell role in signing 'mature' Albon for 2022

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

George Russell did have a role in helping "confirm" Alex Albon was the right driver to replace him at Williams for 2022, according to Jost Capito.

This week, many of the remaining seats for next season were announced with Russell's move to Mercedes into the seat of Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas of course the biggest.

Albon's return to the Formula 1 grid after a year out was also significant, with the Williams CEO explaining his thought process.

“I look at what Alex has done in the past and it is not to recycle him,” Capito said via Crash.net. "He has done a great job, being the teammate of Max [Verstappen] is something very difficult, just as difficult to be the teammate of [Lewis] Hamilton. 

Also Read:

“And what you see at McLaren is how difficult it is for Danny [Ricciardo] to come into a new car. It’s very difficult to judge somebody just on one season, you have to see the whole career and what he has done, and there are always different circumstances that you can't just judge in a single race result.

“When I look at the whole career of Alex and what he has done, how he worked, his character and also the comments of people having worked with him we came to the conclusion that he is the right guy for us next year.”

Russell has always been a strong advocate for Albon during the UK-born Thai driver's time in and around F1, and Capito did turn to the Briton for his advice.

“I built a very close relationship with George through this season,” the Williams boss was quoted by GPFans as explaining.

Russell Capito

“We work very well together and of course he told me about what he thinks about Alex and that they are personal friends as well.

“I had to be, whilst of course it is very much appreciated what George thinks about Alex, on the other hand, I had to be very rational about it, how to evaluate which driver is the right driver for us.

“I wouldn’t say it influenced, but it confirmed that we had taken the right decision.”

The deal to sign Albon came after some political discussion, as Mercedes, who supply engines to Williams, demanding Alex cut ties with their main rivals Red Bull before joining.

That was agreed, although a relationship that includes the option to re-sign him in the future was also included.

Even so, Capito doesn't think Williams will be just a temporary stopgap for Albon.

“At the moment I wouldn’t see the reason why not,” he said on if the 25-year-old could lead the team into the future.

“It would be nice if it would turn out like this but in racing, you never know, lots of things can happen. But part of our choice was somebody we can build the team with and already still has experience at a young age.

“I think he has a fantastic experience. He went through a lot, had ups and downs, [is] very mature as a driver, and I think for his age he has the best still to come, and that was one of the major decision points.”