Russell: F2 priority over any FP1 outings
17 December 2017 – Mercedes-backed George Russell says that his planned duties in Formula 2 will take priority over any potential Formula 1 practice runs in 2018.
Russell clinched this year's GP3 crown with a round to spare, and received FP1 runs with Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the latter alongside his programme in the tertiary category.
Several youngsters have split FP1 runs with their commitments in F2/GP2/GP3, while others, such as 2018 Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc, have preferred to focus on one role at each weekend.
Russell says that the opportunities that would arise with performing well in Formula 2 take priority over carrying out practice runs in a Formula 1 car.
"I need to talk with Mercedes, I think they're fairly pleased with what I've been doing," said Russell on his 2018 Formula 1 role.
"Obviously my main priority will be Formula 2 next year, and this [Force India] all came about just because we'd already sealed the championship in GP3.
"I don't want anything to overlap so I'm aware that if I win Formula 2 next year I'll be given the opportunity to drive in F1.
"But if I perform really well in FP1 sessions but [am] not performing so well in Formula 2 it makes my cause a little more difficult, so I need to get my priorities right."
Russell also heaped praise on Force India in the wake of his stint with the team.
"I really like the team, all the guys gel really well together, you can see there's a great team atmosphere," he said.
"I spent a few days working with them, just to try and get as prepared as possible, I feel comfortable and this is certainly somewhere I'd like to start my F1 career."
Russell drove for ART Grand Prix during all three days of post-season Formula 2 testing in Abu Dhabi.