Home Sports George Russell rues 'massive shame' after Williams F1 car launch plans wrecked...

George Russell rues 'massive shame' after Williams F1 car launch plans wrecked by hackers


George Russell labelled it a “massive shame” that Williams had to change plans for the unveiling of their 2021 car as Formula One fans were denied the chance to broadcast the car into their homes via an augmented reality app.

The British team had revolutionary plans to allow fans to see their FW43B in the flesh by using the app, ‘Williams Racing AR Launch 2021’, to project it into real life in their living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens or driveways.

That would have allowed for an innovative look at their livery, unlike the traditional launches where fans see studio shots of the car before waiting for it to hit the track for a shakedown or waiting until pre-season testing. 

But Williams had to abandon those exciting plans several hours before their launch on Friday, with the Grove-based outfit confirming that the app had been hacked. 

And Russell, the Mercedes junior driver who enters the third season of his contract with Williams this year, hit out at the unidentified hackers after claiming it would have been “an awesome experience” for the sport’s followers.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, the team said: “Williams Racing planned to reveal its 2021 challenger, the FW43B, via an augmented reality app later today.

“However, sadly, because the app was hacked prior to launch, this will no longer be possible.

“We have subsequently removed the app from both the Apple App Store and Android Google Play store.

“We were very much looking forward to sharing this experience with our fans, particularly during this difficult time when being able to bring in-person experiences directly to our fans is sadly not possible.

“We can only apologise that this has not been possible.”

And in reaction to the news, Russell tweeted: “Massive shame. I’ve seen the app and it was going to be an awesome experience for you guys.

“Whoever did this, seriously not cool. Still buzzing to show you the car later though. See you at 14:00.”

Williams are somewhat of a new-look outfit heading into the 2021 season, though their driver line-up of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi remains the same.

The Williams family sold the team last year and founder Sir Frank Williams and his daughter Claire, who served as the deputy team principal, both left their roles.

Simon Roberts has taken over as team principal while Jost Capito is the new CEO as Williams look to reinvigorate themselves having been the backmarkers in the past few years.

Neither Russell or Latifi scored a point in the Williams last season, although the Briton did finish ninth when swapping to the Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain.

The 23-year-old looked on for a maiden F1 race win before a Silver Arrows pitstop error and then a puncture.


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