Mercedes would prepare Russell for 2022 seat if dropped by Williams

User Rating: 2 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Mercedes would use next season to prepare George Russell for a seat in 2022 if dropped by Williams, Toto Wolff has claimed.

Despite the Briton's claim that he has a contract at the Grove-based team, later comments by team boss Simon Roberts did little to quell speculation that Russell could be dropped to bring in Sergio Perez for next year.

Then, offering Mercedes' view on the rumours, Wolff also didn't exactly inspire confidence, conceding the ball is in Williams' court.

“We all know about George’s capabilities, he is a star of the future who remains unbeaten by his teammates in Formula 1," he was quoted by RaceFans.

“Sometimes he is able to show highlights in a car that is not competitive at the moment and I think he’s a great team asset.

Also Read:

“But there’s obviously a financial reality that I cannot judge at all and it’s absolutely the judgement of the new owners and Simon to decide what they want to do going forward.”

Wolff though did confirm Mercedes had made contact with Williams about their plans.

“We’ve touched base about George but at the end, like I said, it’s their call," he added.

Asked if there would be any ramifications if Williams did drop Russell, Toto replied: “No. We have a five-year contract with them on power units, and these things are separate.

“There’s contracts that are valid, we will respect them. That’s how we do it here at Mercedes. I’m happy with the three customers that we have for next year onwards.

“I totally respect the independence of Williams like any other team and they need to make their decisions,” he added.

“Sometimes financial decisions take priority over sporting decisions and sometimes even the sporting decisions need to balanced, and it’s not always clear-cut. It wouldn’t damage the relationship, it would be disappointing.”

Russ Merc

The situation would bear a lot of similarities to what happened with Esteban Ocon two years ago, as he was replaced by Lance Stroll after his father Lawrence bought Force India during the summer.

But while the Frenchman spent last season with Mercedes before joining Renault in 2020, it appears the plan with Russell would result in him eventually being promoted into a race seat.

“If George were to slip through the system I would be happy to take him in our squad, we will have a sensational reserve,” Wolff said.

“I would put him through a mega testing programme and prepare him in the best way for a 2022 blast.”

Of course, Valtteri Bottas is only signed on for a single year, while Lewis Hamilton is still yet to confirm his future beyond this season.