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GPDA role allows Russell to represent younger drivers

NEWS STORY
25/03/2021

Newly appointed as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, George Russell says the position will allow him to represent the younger drivers on the F1 grid.

Earlier this week it was announced that the Williams driver is replacing Romain Grosjean as a director of the 'drivers' union', alongside Sebastian Vettel and Alex Wurz.

Talking at today's press conference in Bahrain, Russell explained why he accepted the appointment.

"I wanted to take on that role because I think what the GPDA has done over so many years has been great for the sport," he said. "Whenever we've had our briefings between all of the drivers, which in 2019 was very common, probably once after every two grands prix we stayed after the drivers' briefing and we'd all talk about certain issues or ways which we believe we can improve the sport, safety, whatever it may be.

"Obviously it was slightly harder in 2020 with the logistical issues of COVID," he continued, "but I was always quite vocal, I always quite enjoyed putting my opinion forward. And I guess having a voice for the drivers is something I'm quite proud of to be honest.

"So I'm looking forward to that and obviously I think I've got a very good relationship with a lot of the younger drivers.

"I guess Sebastian is sort of almost representing the older half of the grid, I'm potentially representing the younger half of the grid," he added, the average age of the drivers comprising the 2021 grid being 27 years 8 months, the oldest (Kimi Raikkonen) being 41 years 6 months and the youngest (Yuki Tsunoda) 20 years 11 months. Indeed, at 23 years 1 month, Russell is the sixth youngest driver on the grid.

While, in the eyes of many, the GPDA has been toothless in recent years, rarely speaking out in order not to upset the sport's powers-that-be, team bosses or sponsors, Russell insists the association has a role to play and he wants to be part of it.

"Over the past couple of years, obviously I've only been in Formula 1 for the past two seasons, but the involvement we as drivers are having with Formula 1, with the FIA, is increasing year on year," he said. "And Formula 1 are definitely open and they really want us to be even more involved. So what the future can hold, I'm not too sure.

"I think potentially just further outside of Formula 1 and more motorsport in general would be fantastic really," he added, "but obviously I'm the new boy on the block in this role so I can't give too many opinions at the moment. I will just listen and learn and find my feet as time progresses."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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