“He also looked a little more like an accountant than a racing driver” – The story of how a 15-year-old young George Russell impressed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff with a PowerPoint presentation.
Anybody who follows Formula 1 knows it in their heart that George Russell is destined for legendary things in the sport. He won back-to-back titles [GP3 and F2] in the junior categories before stepping on to the big one, and has since then over-performed the Williams cars. It was no surprise then that Mercedes have onboarded him as their driver for next season.
His journey with the automobile giants started back when he was just an energetic 15-year-old. He was a star among his peers and impressed supremo Toto Wolff big time. Just this time, it was not with his racing, but his PowerPoint skills.
Here is the fascinating anecdote, in the words of the Austrian entrepreneur himself:
George Russell x Toto Wolff: The Business Meet
“I’ve had his contract since he was 15 years old. He notified me via e-mail that he was in need of advice, told me he had previously won the British karting championship and just become British Formula 4 champion.
“He came to my office, all alone in a black suit with a black tie – it must have been his communion suit because it was a bit tight – and a PowerPoint presentation. In this presentation, he listed every reason why he could be a successful Mercedes driver in the future.
“He also had a question. He wanted to race with Carlin in Formula 3 and asked if it was a no-go for me because they used Volkswagen engines. I told him ‘no, that’s fine, if you want to race with Carlin, go ahead’. And he has been under contract with Mercedes ever since.
“It was well made, although he was a bit nervous. He also looked a little more like an accountant than a racing driver.
“First was his resume along with his previous experiences. Then a page with his strengths, followed by one with his weaknesses, followed by how he wants to continue working on his weaknesses.
“He also had a career roadmap laid out, with his end goal being to drive for the Mercedes Formula 1 team. So he had it all planned out in his head back then already.”