Toto Wolff clarified his ‘decision made’ comments from Belgian GP weekend, as they wait to sort out the future of Valtteri Bottas and George Russell.
The decision on the future of Bottas and Russell has become the talk of this year’s silly season. With rumors flying out left right and center about the Finn being replaced with the Brit, Mercedes team principal, Wolff, has stated settling the future of both these drivers precedes the announcement of the F1 seat.
After qualifying day at Spa-Francorchamps, Wolff had hinted that a decision had already been reached, while not saying the words ‘yes it is done’, he did briefly answer a question about whether Mercedes has made a decision with a ‘yes’.
Wolff came back however to explain himself and his statements made on qualifying. He stated that an announcement on who gets the 2022 seat will not be made until both drivers have their near futures secured.
‘Yes’, replied Wolff when he was asked if he wants both the drivers’ future sorted before any kind of announcement. He added that his above statement regarding the decision being taken was more personal – the one he has in his mind – rather than ones that speak on behalf of Mercedes as there is more than just one party involved.
Signed contracts, legalities and courteous formalities were necessary to be completed and cleared before anything could be revealed about next year’s driver line-up. “It’s not only our call but there is other parties involved and you have to always proceed with respect and with diligence,” said Wolff. “And the question that I was asked after qualufying, whether I have made up my mind, I do.
“But I’m not the only that is involved in this decision. Because there is stakeholders that are involved that we need to respect and as long as contracts are not signed, makes no sense to announce,” explained Wolff, who also clarified that what happened with Esteban Ocon and the then situation with Force India has no role in it.
“No, it has nothing to do with the learnings from the Esteban situation because we deal with people that I trust and respect,” said Wolff. It’s purely a question of having everybody aligned and contracts signed.”
Russell, has in this season alone, proved his capabilities in terms of driving style, teamwork, and execution on track and off it. The Hungarian GP saw him score his first points for Williams. The Belgian GP, however, displayed impressive driving by the Brit, wherein he out-qualified both Mercedes and got P2. The unexpected outcomes on race day also landed him his first podium and best finish in F1.
Everything mentioned so far adds to the appeal of signing Russell for Mercedes in 2022 alongside Lewis Hamilton, even though he is not too aligned. Bottas’ unfortunate struggle this season does make his transfer to another team more likely as well, with Alfa Romeo now looking more likely with the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen.
The article was written by Selena Aburas
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