George Russell says he’s “proud” to be representing the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association as a director, seeing himself as a leading voice for the younger drivers on the grid.
Williams driver Russell has replaced Indycar-bound Romain Grosjean on the board of directors, joining Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, GPDA chairman Alex Wurz and legal advisor Anastasia Fowle in his new role.
The Briton is entering only his third season in Formula 1 but Russell’s appointment has been met with approval from his competitors.
Having been reformed in 1994, the GPDA is a union for all the drivers to discuss the interests of the series, particularly the field of safety.
Explaining the motivation behind him taking on the role, Russell said, as quoted by RaceFans.net: “Firstly, 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 briefings between all of the drivers, which in 2019 was was very common, probably once after every two grands prix we would stay after the drivers’ briefing and we’d all talk about certain issues or ways we believe we can improve the sport: safety, whatever it may be. Obviously it was slightly harder in 2020 with the logistical issues of Covid-19.
“But 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, to be honest. Looking forward to that, and I think I’ve got a very good relationship with a lot of the younger drivers.
“Sebastian is almost representing the older half of the grid, I’m potentially representing the younger half of the grid.”
Russell is aiming to help the GPDA contribute to shaping F1’s future, hoping the drivers will be given clearance to becoming more involved in major decisions.
“I think being at the forefront with Sebastian and Alex Wurz to push forward these views of the drivers towards F1, towards the FIA and if I can look back and say, I was a part of that, that would be something I’ll be proud of,” Russell said.
“F1 are definitely open and they really want us to be even more involved. So what the future can hold, I’m not too sure. I think potentially just further outside of F1, and more motorsport in general would be fantastic, really.
“But obviously I’m the new boy on the block in this role so I can’t give too many opinions at the moment. Just listen and learn, and find my feet as time progresses.”