Toto Wolff says the thought of Williams dropping George Russell didn’t worry him as the Brit would’ve been handed more work with Mercedes.
In October, rumours emerged that, under new ownership, Williams was looking to replace Russell with Sergio Perez, largely due to the financial contributions the Mexican would provide.
A few weeks later, however, acting team principal Simon Roberts confirmed that the team’s lineup would remain the same for 2021.
“As George said Claire made the announcement earlier this year,” he said.
“Nothing’s changed and this is our driver line-up for this year and next year. We’re very happy with them and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”
If Williams did opt to drop Russell, he almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to find a seat for next season, but Toto Wolff says that that didn’t worry him.
“I’m always pretty relaxed about these decisions because things come as they need to come,” the Mercedes team principal told Autosport.
“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.”
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When it looked as if he’d be dropped, many felt that Mercedes should have given Russell Valtteri Bottas’s seat for next year rather than a reserve role.
With the Finn out of contract at the end of 2021, there is even more support for the Brit partnering Lewis Hamilton after that, but Wolff isn’t making any promises.
“Well, it all depends on how next season goes,” he said.
“Also in our team, our loyalty is highest for the guys in the car because we owe it to them to give them every opportunity.
“But then obviously George is pretty highly rated for the future.”
With Bottas continuing to struggle at Mercedes and it by no means certain that Lewis Hamilton will still be in the sport by the end of next season, Russell will be feeling optimistic about driving for the German team for the 2022 season.
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