It's official, George Russell will drive for Mercedes in 2022.
Perhaps coming a year too late given his form and that of the departing Valtteri Bottas, expectations are that Russell will be immediately on the pace of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton when next season begins.
The question that immediately comes to our mind, is what will his Driver Rating be for F1 2022?
How F1 ratings are created
Codemasters has always made some AI drivers faster than others, and done so roughly in line with on-track events. But it was only on F1 2020 that an overall like you might see in FIFA was made visible to players.
The overall is made up of four categories: Racecraft, experience, pace, and awareness. Are these the best stats to consider for drivers? Maybe, maybe not, but this is what Codemasters is using and it is unlikely to change in next year's game.
As you might expect, the older a driver is the higher his experience, and the fewer crashes and penalties the better their awareness. Pace and racecraft is fairly subjective, but Codemasters effectively define pace as raw 1-lap speed and racecraft as overtaking & defending.
Russell's F1 2021 rating
George Russell started F1 2021 as an 84 overall, 14th best on the grid. His rating was made up of 60 experience, 76 racecraft, 83 pace, and 99 awareness.
That then got a bump to 85 overall with a mid-season update, as his experience moved to 61 and racecraft went up to 79. Codemasters is onboard with most of F1 in thinking highly of Russell, his rating is now 13 points higher than his Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi.
But what about now that he's in a Mercedes will it change?
The car shouldn't matter, but it clearly does
Driver ratings should be made in isolation from the car they drive. But they aren't. We see this with Valtteri Bottas every year as he gets a 90 overall despite his clear gap in performance.
Codemasters has done better this year, pushing Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly up the ratings thanks to their incredible form. In fact, since the mid-season update both Gasly and Alonso are now rated better than Bottas. But there is no denying Russell's Mercedes seat will give Codies a chance to boost his rating, and we've already seen why.
Russell's Mercedes cameo in the Sakhir Grand Prix last year should have ended in comfortable victory after overtaking Bottas into turn 1 on the opening lap. Even after a botched pitstop he was fighting his way back to the front with ease. Despite that stellar P2 qualifying performance in the rain at Spa, his pace wasn't moved by Codemasters, well it will now.
We expect his experience to go up to 68-70, his racecraft to hit 80, his pace 90, and his awareness to stay at 99. His overall should be at least 90 in F1 2022, and perhaps higher if he hits the ground running with Mercedes.
We all expect the Silver Arrows (or are they Black Arrows now?) to still be at the top of the grid come the new regulations, and to see Russell competing for race wins.