Jacques: F3 leader Bortoleto showing ‘George Russell confidence’

Do you know what the George Russell rule is? Don’t worry – neither did we until Formula 1 and Formula 2 commentator Alex Jacques joined the Feeder Series Podcast to detail why the Mercedes F1 driver has an eponymous theory in Jacques’ mind.

By Jim Kimberley

Reflecting on the confidence difference that current F3 championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto showed between his previous Feeder Series Podcast appearance in February 2022 and his latest one last month, Jacques, the Broadcast Sport 2022 Sports Commentator of the Year, explained that other drivers have demonstrated the same pattern.

“I call this the George Russell rule. George Russell has been confident from day one of his existence. He probably sprung into life and thanked the doctor for delivering him.

“The George Russell rule is: If you have the confidence, if you have the communication ability, if you have the ability to get the team around you, if you have the ability to articulate what you need from the car… that does have a dramatic impact on what you can do in the junior series on the way up. It just does.”

The Feeder Series Podcast featuring Alex Jacques is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts

Before jumping into F1 with Williams Racing in 2019, Russell had used the abilities Jacques listed to win the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 Championship in consecutive seasons with ART Grand Prix, a mainstay of the junior single-seater world since 1996.

“If you consider the people that are running the teams, they’ve seen it all before. They have seen drivers come through. They need easy people to work with who are clear and [whom] they understand,” Jacques explained.

“You’ve got to remember that it’s flesh and blood sitting in the cockpit of one of these cars. And they’re doing it at ludicrously early ages. They’re still finding out who they are as people, not to get too deep and philosophical.

“Not everyone is born with George Russell confidence. Not everyone is born with George Russell articulation. Also, you might be adjusting to the language of the team that you’ve got around you, so you might be articulating across language barriers as well.”

It’s a valid point. Many viewers forget that the pilots in the junior championships are often schoolkids and must go through the same coming-of-age process you and I did, or are doing, while also being racing drivers.

“When you get that confidence as a person, it can only help the behind the scenes with a team. And as a result, I think that that change that you mentioned can only help [Bortoleto] on track.”

Could Gabriel Bortoleto be looking at a future like that of George Russell? | Credit: Mercedes Media Portal

It’s not all roses for any young driver emulating the swagger of Norfolk-born Russell, though. As the veteran junior category broadcaster explains, there are negatives for those who might be a little too cocky.

“If you put your shoulders back a little bit too far [and] you think, ‘Hold on a minute, I’m the new Ayrton Senna here! Come on Brazil; let’s get on board!’ Then it can spring the other way.

“You can go too far into the braking zone. You can have needless contact, and you can see weekends unravelling pretty quickly.

“So you’ve got to keep an equilibrium, but more confidence is always going to help a driver on track, especially at this level of motor racing.”

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd


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