Jost Capito, the newly hired Williams Team Principal, feels George Russell and a youthful Kimi Raikkonen have a lot in common. Capito, who is now the CEO of Williams, worked for Sauber from 1996 to 2001, and was the team's Chief Operating Officer when Raikkonen was recruited as an unknown rookie 20 years ago
With the inexperienced Finn quickly establishing himself as one of Formula 1's hottest prospects, which saw him join McLaren in 2002 and ultimately World Champion in 2007, Capito sees many parallels between his and George Russell's careers.
According to Capito, "There is a lot in George, I see a lot [of] what I’ve seen in Kimi, his driving is brilliant."
He continues, “I believed in [Raikkonen] from the first time, when I had discussions with his managers I knew. When he came the first time to Hinwil, I think looking in his eyes I knew he is the guy you have to keep. With Kimi it was clear he would be exceptional. I had this feeling right from the beginning.”
Russell, on the other hand, is in a slightly different situation than Capito, since the British driver is already in his third season and is gaining experience as a racer.
Capito adds, "Compared to Kimi, it’s George’s third season, compared to Kimi, when I was there it was his first season. So, for sure it’s different. I’m still impressed by George. Even though the expectations were high, especially after last year and I think he fully delivers according to the expectations and, with all the things that’s going around him with his contract for next year and where he’s driving, I am very impressed how cool he takes it and how relaxed he is with that situation and how it doesn’t touch him."
As a result, he's completely focused and functioning effectively with the team. This is also extremely impressive: how he interacts with the team and motivates them.
Capito concludes, "Every Tuesday we have a town hall, where we inform the whole company, everybody dials in, and is informed about the last weekend, and George dialled in on Tuesday and talks to the team. He takes his time to be with the team. He goes to the factory and the gym and he’s very close to the team and I think that is one of his strengths – because they all love him and they all work… everybody works very hard for him."