Campos’ Jack Aitken will make his Formula 1 race debut for Williams at the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend, replacing George Russell. The 2018 Formula 2 Champion is substituting for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, following the F1 World Champion's positive Covid-19 test.
Aitken is the Williams’ Reserve Driver and has previous experience in the team’s FW43, running in Free Practice 1 at the Styrian Grand Prix earlier this season. The 25-year-old joined Williams back in February, having previously held a similar role for Renault.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to make my debut with Williams this coming weekend,” elated Aitken. “I am extremely happy for George to have his chance too!
“I really mean it when I say I’ve felt very much at home here since I joined Williams earlier this year, so to get my chance to help the team try to achieve that elusive points finish is an extremely satisfying occasion to say the least.
“I’ll be doing all I can to prepare in the coming days, but truthfully, I feel like I have been ready since Melbourne. I also want to wish Lewis well in his recovery, and good luck to George getting the chance to drive the Mercedes this weekend.”
Aitken has race winning pedigree in F2, standing on the top step four times since his debut in 2018. The Briton is currently 12th in the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with two podiums.
Aitken’s debut will come as a result of Russell making the switch to Mercedes for the penultimate round of the season, in the absence of Hamilton. The British driver is part of the Mercedes Driver Academy and won F2 back in 2018, with seven victories and 11 podiums.
Acting Williams Team Principal, Simon Roberts added: “Our long-term partnership and George’s affiliation with Mercedes is no secret, and so I’m delighted George has this unique opportunity to join Mercedes, the current Constructors’ Champions.
“We have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to allow him this fantastic opportunity. George very much remains a Williams driver and we look forward to him returning to us fresh from this experience and wish him a successful race this weekend.
“We are also thrilled this means we are able to give another British talent in Jack Aitken the opportunity to make his Formula One race debut. Jack joined Williams at the start of this season, and despite COVID-19 restrictions meaning we haven’t been able to interact with him as much as we would like, he has quickly become a much-liked member of the team.
“We look forward to seeing him build on his previous experience driving the car in practice, to see what he can do in a qualifying and race situation.”
Aitken's replacement at Campos will be announced in due course.