PEOPLE: JOHN RUSSELL

Name: John Russell
Nationality: Great Britain

John Russell

John Russell 

 © Inside F1, Inc.

Over the years a number of Williams personnel have joined the team after working at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell, just down the road from Didcot in Oxfordshire. The first was Ross Brawn and he was followed by Dave Stubbs who would become Williams team manager in the late 1980s. In 1989 a third UKAEA employee moved from Harwell to Didcot - John Russell.

A graduate trainee with Britain's civil nuclear power research and development program, Russell graduated in 1981 as a mechanical engineer and then spent the necessary three years working at Harwell before he went into industry and designed scientific and medical equipment. In June 1989 he was hired by Williams to replace James Robinson who had left the team to become chief engineer at Arrows. He became Riccardo Patrese's race engineer. The two scored their first victory together the following year at Imola and in 1991 added wins in Mexico and Portugal. Patrese finished third in the World Championship that year. There was a further victory in Japan in 1992. For the 1993 season Russell became Damon Hill's engineer and the relationship blossomed with Damon winning three victories at the end of the year. He started 1994 with Hill but after Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola Damon became the team's number one and was engineered by David Brown. Russell ran David Coulthard and Nigel Mansell and the year ended with Mansell's victory in Australia.

Tired of traveling, however, Russell decided to quit F1 at the end of that season and Williams gave him a new job as chief engineer of the Williams Touring Car Engineering, running Renault Lagunas in the British Touring Car Championship. The team won title with Alain Menu in 1997. At the end of that year Russell was appointed chief engineer of a new Williams project, although this came under the wings of Williams's BMW Motorsport Ltd. subsidiary. The first BMW sportscar did well at Le Mans in 1998 but failed to finish, but in 1999 the BMW V12 LMR won the Sebring 12 Hours and dominated at Le Mans.

In June 1999 Russell rejoined Williams F1 as the senior development engineer but soon afterwards was offered the chance to be chief designer at Jaguar Racing and went to join Gary Anderson's team at Milton Keynes. One of the few major names to survive the technical reshuffle at the end of 2000, Russell remained chief designer under the new technical director Steve Nichols in 2001 but departed in the middle of 2002 after the disastrous R3 programme. Russell is now working with Prodrive as an engineer in the Australian Touring Car programme with Ford.

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