Wolff: Russell’s display won’t impact Hamilton F1 contract talks

Toto Wolff will not look to use George Russell's display for Mercedes in this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix to influence talks with Lewis Hamilton over a new Formula 1 contract

Wolff: Russell’s display won’t impact Hamilton F1 contract talks

Russell will make his Mercedes debut in Bahrain this weekend after being drafted in by his parent team from Williams to replace Hamilton, who was ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19.

Russell led both practice sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday, but was quick to downplay his times on his first outing in the Mercedes W11 car, calling them "deceiving".

It comes at a time when Mercedes is looking to agree a new contract with seven-time world champion Hamilton, whose existing deal expires at the end of the season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner backed Russell to "make great use" of the opportunity with Mercedes, feeling it would benchmark him against Valtteri Bottas and potentially have an impact on talks with Hamilton.

"I'm sure Toto's looking to use it to perhaps negotiate Lewis's contract in some way, shape or form," said Horner.

"It will be fascinating to see how it plays out but it's great to see another youngster getting that chance and opportunity."

But Wolff rejected the suggestion a good performance by Russell could be used to bring down the value of Hamilton's contract.

"We've discussed having George in the car, we know what we have with Lewis, and we know what he has with the team," Wolff said.

"Such a situation would never be utilised as some kind of bargaining power, neither by him nor by us.

"It could go in both directions, and I respect very much who he is, how he drives, and his records.

"Whatever happens this weekend or next has no influence on our talks."

Wolff said on Friday that Hamilton was "not feeling great" as he battled mild COVID-19 symptoms during self-isolation in Bahrain.

The Mercedes F1 chief said last week they were taking "baby steps" in talks over a new contract, recognising the need to agree a deal soon, but confirmed they would now wait for Hamilton to recover before continuing negotiations.

"The timeline is being pushed back until he recovers," Wolff said.

"We know that we need to get it done, pretty well aware both of us. The priority now is him getting back on his feet and being back negative, and then we will meet or Zoom in order to put pen to paper."

shares
comments
Autosport 70: The secrets of F1's greatest overtaker

Previous article

Autosport 70: The secrets of F1's greatest overtaker

Next article

Ferrari: "Common sense" to allow Sainz to take part in Abu Dhabi F1 test

Ferrari: "Common sense" to allow Sainz to take part in Abu Dhabi F1 test
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , 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