George Russell believes Williams can take solace from missing the majority of the opening Formula 1 pre-season test by looking back four years when Force India suffered a similar fate before recovering to have its strongest season.

The F1 rookie completed 17 laps to add to his 23 laps from Wednesday during the Williams FW42’s test debut, with the team completing the lowest overall team total of just 88 laps, after missing the opening two-and-a-half days of testing following delays to building and producing its 2019 car.

While Claire Williams called it an “embarrassment”, Russell is urging a sense of optimism ahead of the second four-day pre-season test taking place at Circuit de Catalunya next week.

Russell referenced Force India’s test woes from 2015 when similar delays saw it miss the first two pre-season tests, before debuting with an updated 2014 car on day two of the final test, but went on to produce a double points finish at the opening race. Force India went on to secure fifth place in the F1 world constructors’ championship that season to enjoy its best-ever campaign at the time.

“We’ve seen it before, Force India missed the whole of 2015 testing and they still finished fifth in the championship,” Russell said. “You don’t get points for testing so who knows what will happen.

“Until you are involved in a Formula 1 team, you don’t understand how much work goes on just to get a Formula 1 car on the track.

“I went around the factory and met everyone in January and I was amazed, despite being in a Formula 1 team for two years, I was still amazed about how much effort goes into making the simplest of parts.”

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Russell also repeated his appreciation of the effort his Williams’ squad has put in to getting on track, albeit in an unprepared car, over the final two days of the first test to give it laps and data to work through over the four-day break before the second test which begins on Tuesday (February 26).

“It has been quite annoying watching everyone on track and obviously as a driver you just want to get out there,” he said. “It has passed quite quickly because I have understood how much work has been going on for all the people building this car.

“It hasn’t made me frustrated, I understand that we haven’t got in this situation on purpose, everybody is obsessed about it and they are working their socks off to make it right. That was refreshing for me.

“It made me quite proud of the guys and how much they are working. They have been up since yesterday at 2:30 in the morning working on the car to make it ready. It is a privilege to be part of this team.”

 

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