For the past three seasons of Formula One action, George Russell has underlined his reputation as a future world champion having excelled for one of the sport’s most famous of teams – Williams Racing.
Having joined the team as F2 champion in 2019, the popular Englishman has been on a journey with Williams that has seen them move successfully move through a period of transition to regular points scorers and podium finishers. And during that period of time, there has been another constant in that progress, that of valued official Cyber Protection partner Acronis.
With the company now recognised as one of the global leaders in safeguarding this most critical of areas for both business and personal security, Russell was only too glad to join Acronis for their annual business summit in Miami, a short hop over from the US GP in Austin, Texas the weekend prior.
Over the course of a race weekend, teams will generate around 200GB of data per race meeting. All of this precious data needs protecting, storing, and processing. And that’s where Acronis comes in.
“If you’ve got reliable data and the things that line up from the on-track things to the off track, it’s much easier to let the computers do the talking and go away and do the improvements,” Russell told Acronis VP of Europe Ronan McCurtin during a Zoom chat available to media and fans and also attended by Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Football Club legend Pierre Garcon.
“You’ve got faith in what you’re doing if there is a clear correlation and trusted data from on track to off track. So that’s what everybody is chasing, and I think that is the key difference in Formula One, to have that reliable data to go back and do the work back at the factory.”
With data and statistics always at the forefront of motorsport, and particularly F1, Russell is only too aware of how important it is in order to gain that competitive edge over the opposition.
“We have all of the stats, all of the data in the world if we want but it’s taking the right data and using the quality not the quantity because you can delve into every single little detail. You just need to take the clear, key objectives and maybe at a later date if you need to do some deeper analysis, you have it there.
“We have all of this data we have to correlate from on track, to the simulator, to the CFD, to the wind tunnel. And if that’s out on one of those four key points it just has a negative effect, and you need to have confidence in your data so when you arrive at the next test with an update or you’re trying things on the simulator it’s working exactly how you expect it to be.
“So analysing that data, being on top of it and correlating it between those four key pillars is going to be the difference.
“I would love to know how many data channels we have, but it’s thousands and thousands! So it’s pretty crazy and everyone has their element within the team whether it’s the engine department, the guys who look after the tyres, the brakes, the electronics or even the performance engineers trying to help me, as a driver, go faster. People are just looking into their isolated regions to try and make the global picture which is to try and make the car, and me, go faster.”
Going faster and faster has been something that Russell has excelled at ever since his early days of karting and has led him to a spectacular second place on the grid at the most challenging of circuits in Spa-Francorchamps – ultimately leading to him retaining that place after race day was washed out.
With his outstanding performances rewarding him with a coveted race drive with Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton for 2022, Russell is extremely proud of his spell at Williams, and is certain that it won’t be too long before the famous name will be back challenging at the front of the grid in the coming years.
“Since Dorilton have come on board you can see the turn in performance and the excitement within and things are looking really great for Williams,” adds Russell. “I can see them in the coming years being right up there, fighting for victories and I think there’s so much desire, motivation and excitement within the whole organisation. It’s a really special place to be.
“It fills me with a lot of pride seeing where we came from back in 2019. The team were in a really difficult spot, struggling financially and technically as well and not in the right place. I went to my first race, and we were three or four seconds off the pace and got lapped three times.
“Then we have been up in the top ten a number of times this year and fighting for points and getting a podium and qualifying inside the top three twice, where last year getting inside the top 15 was a good result for us.”
During a weekend that wasn’t all about celebrating another successful business year for one of the world’s biggest Cyber Security companies, Russell also proved that his talents weren’t exclusive to the racetrack, the Englishman cheekily switching allegiances to win the Cyber Dragon Trophy Corporate Beach Soccer event for the US team vs Europe.
“I was on the winning side, but I think I was on the US side for some reason! It was an early wake up call, a good game of football or soccer for the Americans and plenty of goals!”
Acronis are proud to be the official Cyber Protection Partner of the Williams Racing F1 team. To find out more, please visit https://www.acronis.com/en-us/lp/msp-sports/