Wolff always felt "pretty relaxed" about Russell's F1 future

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says he always felt "pretty relaxed" about George Russell's future despite a brief period of uncertainty at Williams last month

Wolff always felt "pretty relaxed" about Russell's F1 future

Russell has been part of Mercedes' junior programme since 2017, and has impressed since making his F1 debut with Williams last year, with Lewis Hamilton saying he has "the potential to be a future champion".

Williams announced in July that Russell would be remaining at Grove for 2021, seeing out the third and final year of his contract, only for the sale of the team in August to cast fresh doubt on his future.

Sergio Perez was linked with a switch to Williams last month amid the Mexican driver's scramble to find a seat for 2021, leaving Russell's future looking unclear for a couple of weeks.

But Williams cleared up any speculation and apologised for any confusion ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola by announcing Russell would be remaining for 2021 alongside Nicholas Latifi.

Insight: How Russell found himself at the centre of F1's silly season

Losing Russell from the grid would have come as a blow to Mercedes, which has worked hard to develop the British youngster throughout his career, setting him up as a possible successor to one of its current drivers.

But Mercedes chief Wolff said he would have taken whatever decision Williams made in his stride, leaving him fairly relaxed about Russell's future despite the uncertainty.

"I'm always pretty relaxed about these decisions, because things come as they need to come," Wolff said when asked by Autosport how much of a blow it would have been to lose Russell from the grid for 2021.

"If George wouldn't have been in Williams, that would have been a little bit annoying.

"But I guess he would have been a very strong reserve with us, and we would have found an additional programme for him.

"At the end, I'm happy that they decided in favour of him. I think he deserves it, his performances are outstanding.

"I think they made a good choice."

Russell had stressed throughout the speculation about Perez that he had "no concerns" about his future, saying the stories had been "fed by the Perez camp" to try and help move the driver market along.

Asked by Autosport how advanced talks were with Williams, Perez replied: "I've always kept my talks private, I think it's the way it always should be.

"More than that, there's not a lot of point. Nothing happened, so I think there's not a lot of point of discussing.

"There were some talks, but nothing more than that."

Perez is currently without a seat for 2021 after Racing Point opted to release him from his contract so it could sign Sebastian Vettel ahead of its Aston Martin rebrand.

After seeing the door at Williams close, Perez's only realistic option of landing a seat for 2021 now lies at Red Bull, who is weighing up Alexander Albon's future.

shares
comments
Verstappen: 2022 F1 rules not designed to stop Mercedes

Previous article

Verstappen: 2022 F1 rules not designed to stop Mercedes

Next article

How a "supernatural" adaption resurrected Gasly's F1 career

How a "supernatural" adaption resurrected Gasly's F1 career
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Susie Wolff , George Russell
Author Luke Smith
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021