Russell hopes new owners will propel Williams back to big time

Spa (Belgium) (AFP) –


George Russell welcomed Williams' change of ownership on Thursday, adding that he hoped the level of investment would help propel the team back towards the front of the Formula One grid.

The highly-rated young British driver, who is a protege of the Mercedes driver development academy, said it was positive news for the team which will retain the Williams family name.

"It's very positive news for Williams as a whole and everybody who works for the team," said Russell, ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

"Very pleased to see the company (and) the team is stable moving forward and has got a great company behind them to help push Williams back to where it belongs -- which is definitely higher up the grid!"

The Williams racing team was acquired by American investment firm Dorilton Capital last week.

The team, founded by Frank Williams in 1977, will remain based at Grove and continue to race under the Williams name.

"It was obviously a slightly nervy time previously," said Russell, who added that he had spoken to company chairman Matthew Savage earlier Thursday.

"At the moment, they're in a full review of what changes need to be made and who will be forming the management side of the company.

"As it currently stands, I'm just really pleased to see the news and fully focussed on the weekend at hand."

He added that it was important to retain the identity of the team that has won more constructors' championships than any team other than Ferrari.

"The Williams family has been a huge part of Formula One," he said.

"I think the most important thing with this change of ownership is that the name and that side of things will be continuing.

"The Williams family would not have sold to somebody who they didn't believe would be beneficial for the team moving forward. I'm very pleased that they've come to that decision because they believe that is the best for the future of the team."

Russell's team-mate Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi said: "It's secured the future and stability of the team, which is I think first and foremost the most important thing."