Toto Wolf, head of Mercedes Formula 1, said Williams’ decision about George Russell’s future had nothing to do with driving skills and was a “political and commercial decision”.
Speculation began last week that Russell could take the place of Sergio Perez Williams for 2021, who is trying to find a seat after losing his driving with Racing Point next year.
Russell has repeatedly said he has no worries about his future with Williams because he has a contract the following year and rumors are that he was “fed up by the Perez camp” to help him find a seat elsewhere.
Russell has been part of Mercedes’ junior program since 2013, and Wolf has been in contact with Williams in recent days, although he has refused to confirm that his existing line-up will remain for next year.
Russell has impressed throughout his F1 career, and put up another strong performance at the Portuguese Grand Prix last weekend, calling the display “probably my best race in Formula 1.”
Speaking about Russell’s future after the race, Wolf said the young British man deserved his place in the grid, but he proved once again that Williams’ decision would not go down in performance.
“George has proven he deserves to be in Formula 1.”
“He was running in a tough midfield again today.
“I don’t think the decision came down to his driving skills, it’s probably an overall political decision and a commercial decision.
“The owners of Williams have decided where they want to help the team.
“We need to respect Williams’ independence and his decision-making process. I think he is in a good position.”
Wolf has already said that if Russell wants to lose his seat for 2021, he will be sent through a “mega” testing program with Mercedes next year and will work as its reserve driver, but he is confident he will be on the grid.
Russell said he has not yet discussed the 2021 fallback options with Wolf, who was adamant that the 2018 F2 champion would race next year.
“We didn’t talk about a fallback,” Russells assisted.
“Listen,” he said, “I’m back behind you, and he said you’ll be on the grid next year, and don’t worry.”
“So I obviously have a lot of speculation. I think it was fed from other people.
“Everything will be fine. I would say [it will be] 100% made it clear from the team’s point of view, probably nothing will happen after next weekend. “
Alcohol maven. Incurable pop culture specialist. Communicator. Gamer. Certified explorer.