Williams using '19 to help 'phenomenal' George Russell on set-up lessons

George Russell in action for Williams

Williams says its position as Formula 1’s backmarker has enabled the team to spend more time in helping a “phenomenal” George Russell in honing his set-up skills for future years.

Mercedes-backed Russell stepped up to Formula 1 with Williams for 2019 after taking back-to-back championships in feeder series GP3 and Formula 2.

Williams has spent the year mired at the foot of the grid, often substantially adrift of its nearest opponents, and is condemned to finishing last for the second straight season.

Russell explained earlier in the year that Williams’ position had allowed it to experiment with extreme set-ups that midfield teams – in a close fight with rivals – would be unable to trial.

Williams’ Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson is hoping that additional work carried out with Russell will yield rewards in 2020.

“We’ve definitely spent time, and used the opportunity with George particularly to make sure he learns the tracks – not just the left and right! – but that he understands the subtleties of how you have to set an F1 car up for a particular circuit, [for both] qualifying and the race,” said Robson.

“Undoubtedly we spend a lot of time now doing that with him and trying to open his eyes, he’s got a phenomenal understanding of how the car works, and what he wants from the car.

“Now he’s got to marry that up with the complexity of the set-up, and when we visit the same tracks next year he’ll be in a much better place to help us, to guide us, and that key bit in F1 of how the set-up interacts with the tyres, which as always is the crucial bit, which perhaps for him and anyone coming up from the lower formulas is a bit different.

“Hopefully that will pay dividends next year.”

Robson added that Williams has “made some steady progress through the year, I think, that’s fairly clear, we started from a long way back, the upgrades we brought in Germany and the new front wing are good steps forwards.

“I think more importantly than that we spent quite a long time each time we brought an upgrade making sure it does what we expect.

“We spent quite a lot of time running with aero rakes in FP1, at almost every event, that seems to be going quite well.”