Mercedes driver George Russell says he as soon as risked being completely forged apart by Mercedes when he refused the German producer’s help throughout his adolescence in motorsport.
Russell will take his F1 profession to the subsequent stage this season as a member of Mercedes’ championship successful squad, a simply reward for his spectacular three-year apprenticeship with Williams.
However the 23-year-old might have adopted a really totally different path to the summit or certainly might have been side-tracked altogether by a dicey name as soon as made by the Briton.
In early 2015, Russell was approached by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff within the wake of his successful marketing campaign within the 2014 British System 4 title, with the Austrian providing the younger gun sponsorship and Mercedes help to race within the European System 3 Championship.
Nevertheless, Russell respectively turned down the supply, and put his religion as an alternative in Carlin and Volkswagen.
“I used to be already having conversations with Toto and Mercedes previous to becoming a member of Carlin and Volkswagen,” he recalled, talking on Motor Sport’s ‘My Huge Break’ podcast.
“After my assembly with Toto firstly of 2015, I despatched him an electronic mail simply to say, ‘I actually respect the assembly and thanks for all your recommendation and so on. Simply to let you already know, I’ll truly be becoming a member of Carlin and Volkswagen versus Mücke Motorsport and Mercedes as a result of I consider it’s higher for my profession’.
“And I had the opinion that if I went out and did a superb job, Mercedes would nonetheless have an interest.
“So he replied again, ‘I feel you’re making a unsuitable resolution however let’s keep in contact and let’s see the place we go from there’.”
- Learn additionally: Russell bracing for ‘most intense 12 months in my life’ in 2022
Nevertheless, Mercedes wasn’t the one producer that attempted to lure Russell into its younger driver program, with BMW providing the then 17-year-old an honest contract to race within the German DTM sequence.
However then, Gwen Lagrue, the person answerable for Mercedes’ junior driver program, got here calling.
“I had the contract on the desk from BMW nearly able to signal it, and that’s after I acquired the cellphone name from Gwen Lagrue,” remembered Russell.
“I used to be sat within the tub, truly. He was saying, ‘I wish to have a dialog about becoming a member of Mercedes’. And that’s the place it began, actually.
“It was completely clear from Mercedes-Benz for those who signed with BMW, there gained’t be an possibility with Mercedes sooner or later.”
Russell switched his allegiance to Mercedes in 2017 and gained back-to-back titles in GP3 and System 2 earlier than graduating to F1 with Williams in 2019.
And the remainder, as they are saying, is historical past…
Sounds good does not it, Crew. pic.twitter.com/3DsbCOTKFI
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Crew (@MercedesAMGF1) January 14, 2022
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