‘I was always quite vocal’ – Russell explains why he was so keen to take on GPDA role
After Romain Grosjean left Formula 1 for IndyCar, George Russell stepped up to replace the Frenchman as director on the board of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, and the Williams driver has explained why he was so keen to take on the role.
The GPDA was founded in 1961 and represents the drivers’ interests, particularly focusing on safety. Russell joins fellow director Sebastian Vettel and chairman Alex Wurz on the board, which also includes the group's legal advisor Anastasia Fowle.
Russell, who is 23 and has just begun his third season in F1, explained in Bahrain why he took the role and what he’s most looking forward to about being the GPDA’s new director alongside Vettel.
“Firstly, I mean I wanted to take on that role because I think what the GPDA has done over so many years has been great for the sport, whenever we’ve had our debriefings between all of the drivers which, in 2019 was very common – probably once after every two Grands Prix we’d stay after the drivers’ briefing and we’d all talk about certain issues or ways we could improve the sport,” he said.
“I was always quite vocal, I always quite enjoyed putting my opinion forward, and I guess having a voice for the drivers is something I’m quite proud of it to be honest,” he added. “I’m looking forward to that and I think I have a very good relationship with a lot of the younger drivers. I guess Sebastian is sort of representing the older half of the grid; I’m potentially representing the younger half of the grid,” he said with a laugh.
Asked what he wants to accomplish as part of the GPDA, Russell said he held a desire to bring a “positive change” to Formula 1 and hailed the GPDA as a force that uses the drivers’ “unique perspective” to do that.
He said: “I think for me, personally, if I can look back in 20 years’ time and say I was a part of a positive change in Formula 1. I think the future of Formula 1 is looking incredibly bright with Libery, obviously now with Stefano [Domenicali] and Ross [Brawn] at the helm.
“And from our side I think the drivers are having a stronger and stronger voice to help shape that future of the sport as obviously we’re in a unique perspective to feel it from the drivers’ perspective, which is obviously a huge part of Formula 1. So I, being at the forefront with Sebastian and Alex Wurz to push forward these views of the drivers to Formula 1 towards the FIA, and if I can look back and say I was part of that, that will be something I will be proud of,” he concluded.
Russell heads to historic Italian venue Imola with Williams next weekend searching for his and the team’s first points of the season.