F1 drivers can make a difference according to Russell: ‘Wants to have a positive impact on people’

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F1 drivers can make a difference according to Russell: 'Wants to have a positive impact on people'

According to Mercedes driver George Russell, a lot has changed within Formula 1 in recent years, especially when it comes to the role of the drivers off the track. According to the Brit, motorsport is not only about speed and racing, but in recent years it has also become increasingly important for drivers and public figures to use the platform they have available.

A lot has changed in the world of Formula 1 in recent decades. Previously, the sport was always all about speed and performance on the track, but in recent years media obligations and the person behind the wheel are increasingly stealing the show. Drivers speak out more often about positive and negative situations, appear in the media every day and travel all over the world for the most trivial reasons. Russell therefore acknowledges that current circumstances, especially compared to his own childhood experiences with Formula 1, are completely different than ten years ago. Yet the Briton understands that it is very important that today’s drivers make the best possible use of the new opportunities that the world offers them.

F1 growth is not limited to the sport itself

In conversation with F1i.com, Russell looked back on his childhood and the phase Formula 1 was in at the time. “When I was young it was all about speed,” the Briton recalled. ‘You would jump behind the wheel and not think about anything else, because driving as fast as possible was all that mattered.’ Yet those good old times are now history, because thanks to all kinds of factors, Formula 1 drivers have been given a number of additional tasks. According to Russell, it is crystal clear that pure speed and talent in themselves are no longer enough to succeed as a driver. ‘If I really only talk about racing, I notice that the cars are a lot more complex than they ever were. The way we work with our team now is completely different.’

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george russell mercedes abudhabi
In terms of technology, there is still an impressive upward trend within Formula 1. (Photo: Mercedes AMG F1)

According to the Mercedes driver, the growth of the sport is a significant reason for the change within the sport, because everything is becoming bigger and more extensive. “For example, the teams are bigger than ever before,” Russell pointed out. “For example, we already have two thousand people at Mercedes.” This is not very strange, because partly thanks to the arrival of digital technology, there is an increasing demand for experts who can use the new gadgets. ‘If, as a driver, I were to simply maintain my own speed but not be able to communicate at all with my team, I would not be in the position I am in now.’ Data is constantly analyzed, strategic choices are determined by technology before the race and everything depends on the numbers on the screens.

Drivers can count on expanding their CV

However, it does not stop at the technical progress of Formula 1, according to Russell. Formula 1 drivers have an enormous platform at their disposal, also thanks to the arrival of digital technology and especially social media. It has never been easier for drivers to connect with fans, and Russell says it is important to realize that there is still a certain responsibility that comes with it off the track. “Outside the circuit, we all understand that we have a powerful voice,” the Mercedes driver emphasized. ‘Of course you want to have a positive impact on people, especially when you see what is currently happening in the world. That’s all terrible.’

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F1 drivers can make a difference according to Russell: 'Wants to have a positive impact on people'
Hamilton is best known within Formula 1 as someone who regularly speaks out about world events. (Photo: Mercedes AMG F1)

Russell follows the example of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, among others, because to this day both gentlemen still regularly speak out about all the good and bad things in the world. According to the Mercedes driver, it is therefore logical that his other competitors can and perhaps even should do the same with their platform. ‘If you were to take a step back and look at Formula 1 as if it were some kind of bubble, it quickly became common that we find the sport the most important. This not only applies to the drivers, but to everyone involved in the sport.’ Still, Russell hopes that his fellow competitors will make the right use of their privileges and platform: “There is so much terrible stuff happening outside of our sport, and I can only hope that our impact on the lives of others will be positive.” .’

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