Russell: Williams now focused on performance, not survival after key signings

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George Russell says Williams can now focus solely on performance after concentrating on simply surviving since his arrival.

The Grove-based team embarks on a new era this year, its first full season under Dorilton Capital ownership and with Jost Capito as CEO.

Recently, it was also confirmed Capito had headhunted his former colleague at Volkswagen, Francois-Xavier (FX) Demaison as technical director, finally filling the role left by Paddy Lowe early in 2019.

“In the years to come, with the arrival of [Capito], I really feel that we’ve got a firm boss at the helm who will be able to structure a proper technical team around us to help improve ultimately the performance of the car,” Russell said via Motorsport Week.

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“Obviously we’ve not had a technical director in my whole time at Williams, which is crazy to think about.

“The priority I guess in my whole time at Williams until Dorilton took over was keeping the team afloat, keeping people’s jobs alive, keeping the team alive, as opposed to making the car go as fast as possible.

“The focus was just keeping the team in Formula 1 which was absolutely the correct thing to do but now the funds are there and we can now get back to fully focusing on the performance.”

At the season-opener, Williams found themselves a little bit in no-mans-land as the ninth fastest team between Alfa Romeo and Haas.

But with both drivers complaining about how nervous the car was in the windy conditions in Bahrain, head of vehicle performance Dave Robson does think the team can challenge the lower midfield.

“I hope if we can find a little bit more time we can latch on to it because it’s pretty close and we are not that far away," he stated.

“It would be nice to regularly get into that group, to be fair to Alfa, they have taken a good step.

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"In the end, George did an extremely good [qualifying] lap and wasn’t far from the Alfas. To be honest, going into qualifying I thought they would be further up.

“They have clearly done a very good job. If we can get close to them in the coming weeks, we can hopefully get into the back of that midfield. It’s very close.”

Speaking ahead of the race weekend, Russell identified scoring Williams' first points since the 2019 German Grand Prix as the main goal.

“Yeah, I believe this year’s car definitely has more potential than the last two cars that I’ve driven,” he said.

“We came close a number of times last year; I’d like to think we will be able to scrape into the points at some point this season."