George Russell, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2017

Russell gets F1 practice debut with Force India

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

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GP3 champion George Russell will make his F1 practice debut in a Force India at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Russell will drive Sergio Perez’s car during the Friday practice session at Interlagos. He will also drive for the team at Yas Marina, taking over Esteban Ocon’s car for the first practice session.

“I’ve never driven the VJM10 before or driven at Interlagos, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” said Russell.

“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Sahara Force India for this opportunity and also thank Mercedes for their continued support.”

The 19-year-old has already tested for Mercedes and is part of the world champions’ young driver programme.

Force India co owner Vijay Mallya described him as “an up-and-coming talent”.

“George has already been in our simulator several times and has worked well with the team. Now that we have secured fourth place in the championship, it’s the ideal time to look to the future and handing George his free practice debut will allow us to evaluate his potential.”

Russell won the GP3 title at Jerez last month by pulling clear of ART team mate Jack Aitken in the championship standings. Russell has taken four wins this year, all of which have come in feature races. He also won the BRDC F4 championship in 2014 and placed third in European Formula Three last year behind Lance Stroll and Maximilian Gunther.

Force India has already run Alfonso Celis three times in practice sessions this year. The team also tested Lucas Auer and Nikita Mazepin at the Hungaroring.

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Russell gets F1 practice debut with Force India”

    1. Final nail in the coffin for Wehrlein then. He is now old news, Ocon is thriving in Force India and the next generation is now being prepared for F1. I expect to see Russell race in Formula 1 in 2019 if his 2018 campaign is as strong as his 2017 season was.

      1. Force Infia weren’t really interested in Wehrlein when Hulk left the team, and chose Ocon instead (best decision) probably not interested now either.

        1. @ivanfbi
          Think he means in terms of Mercedes juniors.

          1. I think yes.. There are many way more promissing drivers. Also shows. Sauber is a dead end.

    2. That’s more like it. Honestly relieved it’s not Mazepin or Celis Jr.

      1. No doubt that seat is sold for a price, be it cash or further discount on engine/gearbox from Mercs.
        But they might be happy that it is him than others.

      2. Me too , honestly watching Mazepin and Celis drive scares me !

    3. Although he is certainly talented, Force India are surely looking out for themselves, maintaing the possibility of having a discount for the Mercedes engines should Ocon move up the grid in 2019.

      1. for FI this is a chance to up the budget @toiago, by having someone (in this case Mercedes) foot the bill for F1 running

    4. No doubt that seat is sold for a price, be it cash or further discount on engine/gearbox from Mercs.
      But they might be happy that it is him than others.

    5. I think we’re finally seeing the new grid which will emerge post the Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton era. We’ve now got Verstappen, Ocon, Vandoorne, Russell, Sainz and Norris… Plus a few handy veterans in Ricciardo, Perez and Hulkenberg.

    Comments are closed.