George Russell admits that the main "step up" he's faced in his switch from Williams to Mercedes has not been on track, but has in fact related to the marketing workload. Russell spent the first three years of his F1 career at Williams – a much smaller, family-founded team – before moving to the Silver Arrows for the 2022 campaign. Despite the difference in size between the two outfits, Russell feels that his approach to race weekends has not changed, but acknowledges that his promotional work off-track has increased. "It's fair to say it's been a bit of a step up, mainly from the marketing side," he told the Beyond The Grid podcast. "From the on-track side and my preparations for a race weekend and everything performance-driven, there's been no change because, for me, I was doing absolutely everything I could at Williams, to achieve the maximum. "And that's absolutely what I'm doing again, here at Mercedes."
How Russell's marketing workload has increased
In terms of what those preparations entail, Russell explained further: "Physical and mental [preparation] is one thing, but the workload with the team, with the simulator, doing the debriefs after races, preparing for the events, doing whatever we believe is necessary to bring the maximum performance to the track." But when it comes to his marketing commitments, the Briton admits that it has increased significantly since his Williams days. "At Mercedes, this is a global mega brand," he continued. "We have 10s and 10s of top level sponsors. They are the reason we get to go racing. Without the sponsors supporting us, we wouldn't be able to make the cars that we're making today. "Obviously, we need to give back with that. To put it into perspective, I've probably done more marketing events and activities in my first month at Mercedes, compared to three years at Williams."
The importance of sponsors to Mercedes
When asked if he enjoys these activities, Russell joked: "I'd say enjoy is a strong word!" However, he acknowledges the key role that fulfilling commitments for these sponsors plays within the team. "It's something I recognise has to be done, because they're the ones supporting us, and you can't just be take, take, take," Russell said. "This truly is a team effort, and it goes from every single department. It also goes to show the struggles that Williams went through, because the team couldn't find sponsorship. "You're either on this upward spiral or a downward spiral, and unfortunately, at Williams, the results weren't good, [so] sponsors pulled out. "You don't have the money to reinvest into the team, [then] performance gets worse. Sponsors are even less interested, and you're just on this downward slope, and it's so difficult to recover from that."