Wolff: Bottas won't lose 2021 Mercedes F1 seat to Russell

Toto Wolff has put a stop to speculation about fast-tracking George Russell into the Mercedes Formula 1 team in 2021 by formally confirming Valtteri Bottas will retain his seat

Wolff: Bottas won't lose 2021 Mercedes F1 seat to Russell

Russell's superb performance in last weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix in place of Lewis Hamilton, who was absent due to COVID-19, led to speculation Mercedes could move the Williams driver into Bottas' place for 2021.

However Wolff stressed that he remains loyal to Bottas, who has a 2021 contract with Mercedes, and made it clear Russell's time will come.

"He's going to be in our car, I'm hereby confirming it. We have a contract with Valtteri," Wolff said.

"He's going to race next year. You need to kick me quite hard in a sensitive zone for me to ever lose my loyalty. And I am loyal to my two race drivers.

"In the same way. I'm loyal to our junior drivers. George did a phenomenal job last weekend. He deserves to be in a great car one day. He has a contract with Williams for another year.

"They have been very flexible and accommodating in having George, giving George to Mercedes this other weekend, and everything is going to go its way. But calmly, and in a structured way."

Wolff admits Bottas had been put in a difficult position over the Sakhir weekend, with Russell "having nothing to lose" and making such a huge impact on his one-off appearance.

"I can relate to Valtteri's situation, because you're having this tremendously fast team-mate who has won seven world championships, and Valtteri has shown really great performances," he added.

"He won the first race in Austria, and he's been on pole several times, and he should have won more races if it wasn't for red flags or punctures.

"And then losing it again when bad luck was really part of your campaign feels miserable, and in that respect, I think that a driver can sometimes then slip into a bubble where you feel that things are going against you.

"Last weekend was all around George. George had nothing to lose, and Valtteri had nothing to gain.

"In that respect, we had a good talk, an intelligent talk between us.

"It wasn't like a eureka moment that suddenly I've been talking to him, I can just relate to his situation, and we've decided that we want to talk to each other more."

Their renewed rapport was reflected in qualifying when Wolff took the unusual step of talking directly to Bottas on the radio ahead of his final Q3 run on Saturday, which Wolff said was a result of an agreement having been made between the pair to offer greater support.

shares
comments
Stroll "surviving" on engine miles ahead of P3 F1 constructors' showdown

Previous article

Stroll "surviving" on engine miles ahead of P3 F1 constructors' showdown

Next article

Ricciardo: R25 demo runs reminder F1 cars need to bring back "wow factor"

Ricciardo: R25 demo runs reminder F1 cars need to bring back "wow factor"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Susie Wolff , Valtteri Bottas , George Russell
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
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

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021