George Russell insists Williams must avoid implementing any “drastic” changes during the 2019 season in a bid to turnaround its Formula 1 fortunes.

Williams appears destined to spend the current campaign rooted to the back of the grid following a dismal start to the year. Delays with its FW42 forced the British squad to miss the opening two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing, while its 2019 challenger is seconds off the pace of its rivals and is dogged by a series of “fundamental” issues that could take months to fix. 

The difficult start to 2019 prompted Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe to step away from his role and take a “leave of absence” from the beleaguered team on the eve of the season. 

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“The atmosphere is as positive as it can be really,” Russell said. “Obviously you are not going to be chilled out or relaxed when we are at the back of the grid by a long way but we do have to stay positive and not do anything drastic.

“Because at the end of the day this is the position we are in and we’ve now got to work on making the most of that. In any sport you can’t do that overnight. 

“It’s a step-by-step process to make sure that everything is in place to build onto. There is light at the end of the tunnel but it’s quite far away at the moment.”

Russell has managed to out-perform teammate Robert Kubica in the opening two rounds of his rookie season, finishing 16th in Melbourne before improving to 15th in Bahrain as Williams propped up the order on both occasions. 

Asked whether he is finding it hard to remain motivated given Williams’ current struggles, Russell replied: “It certainly is strange. 

“I’ve had the question a number of times about how am I finding the motivation but as I said to the guys before, there are thousands and thousands of drivers who would love to be in F1 and I am one of those drivers. 

“There’s no motivation needed. I am in F1 and this is what I have dreamt about for all of my life but now my job is to really maximise with the team what we have got and really direct them in the right way.”

Mercedes-backed Russell said he has no concerns about his performances being overlooked as a result of his sub-par machinery. 

“My aspirations are to try and get the team further up the grid and make the most of sessions that are probably a bit trickier in maybe mixed conditions and prove what I can do behind the wheel,” he explained.

“But I think everybody that needs to know, and the guys here at Williams and Mercedes know exactly how I am performing from my side, they are the only people that need to know. 

“Sometimes it’s quite difficult in F1 from the outside perspective, the fans or people watching on the TV to understand if that driver is doing a good job or not. But like I said, the people that need to know, know exactly how I am performing.”

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