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Norfolk-born F1 driver hails ‘incredible’ Covid-19 key workers after taking pay cut

PUBLISHED: 16:23 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:40 07 April 2020

Williams' George Russell during pre-season testing in Spain earlier this year Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

Williams' George Russell during pre-season testing in Spain earlier this year Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

Norfolk-born Formula One driver George Russell has thanked the key workers combatting the spread of Covid-19, after seeing his wages cut by 20 percent as motorsport reacts to the financial challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old was born in King’s Lynn and grew up in Tydd St Giles, near Wisbech. He completed his first F1 season in 2019 after a prodigious career at junior levels, winning the FIA Formula Two Championship crown the previous year.

The F1 campaign is yet to start, with the season opener in Australia cancelled at late notice and the following seven races either postponed or cancelled, but the sport’s governing body is still hoping to complete between 15 and 18 races ahead of the season’s conclusion in late November.

Williams' George Russell, who was born in King's Lynn Picture: David Davies/PA WireWilliams' George Russell, who was born in King's Lynn Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

The former Wisbech Grammar School pupil, posting on his @GeorgeRussell63 Twitter account, said: “I’m sure you guys know it’s World Health Day today. Let’s continue to protect ourselves, our families and the people around us by staying safe, staying healthy and staying at home. Keep washing those hands!

“A big thank you to all of the incredible people out there continuing to provide essential services. We will beat this and you guys are leading the fight.”

His comments came 24 hours after his team, Williams, confirmed that their senior management and drivers had taken a 20pc pay cut as part of moves which have seen a number of their staff furloughed as part of cost-cutting measures.

Williams, based in Oxfordshire, is also one of the seven UK-based F1 teams taking part in the Project Pitlane initiative to combine engineering expertise and facilities in response to the government’s call for assistance in manufacturing medical devices during the pandemic.

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