Williams Racing Announce Jack

02/12/2020 Posted in: Racing

Jack Aitken (한세용) will be a Formula One driver. Williams Racing announced earlier this morning that the British-Korean driver will make his Formula One debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain this weekend, replacing George Russell who will in turn be driving for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to substitute for Lewis Hamilton, who has tested positive for Covid-19. This makes Jack the very first driver of Korean heritage ever to drive in Formula One.

Jack already tested the Williams FW43 in FP1 at the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria at the start of the season, but this will be the first time that he races the car, having focussed on simulator work as part of his Reserve Driver role for Williams Racing.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to make my debut with Williams this coming weekend and I am extremely happy for George to have his chance too!” said Jack. “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.”

For Jack, it’s the culmination of years of hard work and the talent that has led him to three junior titles and four wins in Formula 2 – as well as two podiums, eight other points finishes and a fastest lap during this season alone.

But that’s far from the full story. After becoming a very young black belt second dan in karate and taking 10 A-star passes in his school exams, the 25-year-old has had a role in Formula 1 since 2016: having first sampled F1 machinery in 2017. Since then, he’s taken part in a number of official test sessions, as well as free practice in Austria with Williams Racing earlier this year. In order to concentrate on his F1 opportunity, Jack will not be driving in the final round of the Formula 2 series this weekend with Spanish team Campos Racing as usual.

“I’d like to thank Campos for releasing me to follow my goal of Formula One,” added Jack. “The team has put in so much hard work this year under difficult circumstances and I would like my performance in Formula One this weekend to do them proud as well. I know the Williams team and the venue well, even though we’re going to be racing on a brand new circuit layout this weekend, which will be exciting. That’s going to be entirely new for everyone, so it can only help me. I’m going to enjoy the moment today, but the hard work and focus starts right now, so that I can maximise this incredible opportunity.”

Williams Racing Acting Team Principal, Simon Roberts, said: “We are thrilled 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.”