Russell 'stupid' not to join Mercedes despite 'massive loss' for Williams

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George Russell would be "stupid" to turn down an opportunity to join Mercedes in 2022, Williams CEO Jost Capito admits.

The British youngster, who is also a Mercedes junior, does appear to be the favourite to partner Lewis Hamilton next season, replacing Valtteri Bottas.

And while Russell has been pivotal to Williams' solid improvements over the past few years, notably reaching Q3 for the first time since 2018 in Austria, his current boss realises a call to drive for the current Formula 1 world champions would be too good to reject.

"At the moment he likes being at Williams, he likes working with us, he sees where the team is going, he sees the changes we are doing and the approach we are taking and he is very supportive and positive about all that," Capito said via Motorsport Week.

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“Of course if he would get the chance to get in the Mercedes he would be stupid not doing it, but if he doesn’t get the chance I think he would be quite happy to stay at Williams, and this is all we can work for and hope for.”

While Russell is still yet to score a point at Williams, he has never been out-qualified by either Robert Kubica or Nicholas Latifi, earning him the nickname of 'Mr Saturday'.

And more than that, the relationship he has built up with the Grove-based team over his two-and-a-half years there means his departure would be a significant blow.

“Yes, it would be a massive loss, but it’s not necessarily something I have a huge influence on," head of vehicle performance Dave Robson told

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“He’s just got better and better and has developed almost with every race. Not so much in terms of driving, that’s always been very strong, but in terms of his understanding of the whole game we’re playing and everything we need to get right and what we need his help with.

“He’s just improved endlessly and his role in the team is special.

“It’s not just his technical contribution to all of this, all the work he does in the simulator and how he leads those designs, but also the way he interacts with everyone and his positivity.

“I think we’ve all put a lot of time and effort into helping him where he needed a bit of help to guide him and it would be a real shame to lose that, without really seeing the benefit of it in our car."

At the same time, Williams does believe their team has enough appeal to attract a strong replacement if Russell did leave.

“We are seeing more and more interest of drivers to join Williams in the future,” Capito said.

“They see there is a proper financial backing and that the team is willing to move forward and attracts drivers as well. So I think the longer we wait [for Mercedes to make a decision], the better situation we will be in.”

Indeed, it has already been suggested that Bottas could return to Williams, where he began his career in F1, in a straight swap.

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