F1 engineer reveals “disagreement” with Russell

After three years at Williams, George Russell will compete for Mercedes in the 2022 Formula 1 season and can and must prove his skills in a top car for the first time. Dave Robson, who knows Russell well from working at Williams, knows what to expect.

“I think that the weekends are very different for these guys than for others,” says the head of vehicle performance about Russell’s new status as a driver of a top team. “Especially on Saturday, but the whole dynamic of the race is different when you’re at the front.” The Briton knows that only to a limited extent.

During his time at Williams, he only started from the front row once, at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2021. Although Russell held this position during the race, it only lasted a few laps due to the weather conditions.

Robson: Russell at Mercedes, among other things, pressure

“What happened at Spa was obviously good for us in terms of points,” said Robson looking back, “but it would have been good for George to have had a dry front row race at Spa on Sunday and see how it did Really feels. We would have done worse, but he would probably have learned a lot. “

“I think that’s probably the most important thing he has to deal with. Plus of course he has a completely different car and different tires to deal with, and he’s under pressure from a multiple world champion on the other side of the garage “says the Williams engineer.

Lewis Hamilton knows Robson from his time at McLaren, where he became Jenson Button’s race engineer in 2010. The two drivers were team-mates for three years. What differences and similarities can Robson find compared to Russell?

Parallels and differences to Hamilton and Button

“A good question. I think Jenson and Lewis were quite different and George is different again in terms of driving style. He’s somewhere between the two.”

“But to a certain extent it’s about using the tires and they have changed, so I don’t know what Lewis’ style is like these days,” explains Robson. “The most important thing is that George is adaptable. He’s pretty instinctive and I think he’ll keep improving. He’s got the talent.”

Russell went through hard times at Williams, but also some good moments, knows his former companion. “He will have learned a lot from it. There is no doubt that he will have to learn a lot more, because working with Mercedes is a different story than it was with us,” says Robson.

Robson on Russell: “He has everything it takes”

“But when it comes to his style and his attitude, he’s in no way inferior to these two (Hamilton and Button). His work ethic and the way he brings the team together, as well as his ability and self-confidence Making decisions, these are all the real key factors. “

“He has the talent to drive the car,” affirmed the Williams employee. “There are enough people out there who have the same talent, but he also has everything it takes to get the best out of the team, making the right decisions at the crucial moments and under pressure.”

In this context, Robson admits that Williams has had “some disagreements”. “He has some pretty strong opinions and beliefs about what we should do in free practice on Friday and of course qualifying,” he says of Russell.

As an example, he cites the tires and their preparation, for example for a fast lap. “In this situation, I am ready to say that it is the best sensor on the car,” says Robson. “So I have no problem letting him make these decisions because he’s in the best position to do that.”

“But yes, sometimes, especially with regard to the traffic, if that goes wrong, if things really go wrong and cost you a lap in qualifying, he is of course angry and emotional about it, but that is simply part of it.”


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