Mercedes could wait until winter before deciding between Bottas and Russell

Toto Wolff specifies that the decision could fall between December 2021 and February 2022. 

 

Published on 19/06/2021 à 12:25

Julien BILLIOTTE

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Mercedes could wait until winter before deciding between Bottas and Russell

Russell (right) impressed against Bottas during his luxury stint in Sakhir last year / © DPPI

Valtteri Bottas and George Russell will obviously have to be patient before knowing the fate that awaits them. Mercedes

The recent contract extension ofEsteban Ocon in Alpine for 3 additional seasons logically shined the spotlight on the Brackley team (United Kingdom) where the Norman could have applied due to his links with the Etoile brand. 

The seven-time world champions currently have no confirmed drivers beyond the current season. Earlier in the year, the team principal and general manager Toto wolff had confided his desire not to let discussions with the star drag on Lewis Hamilton, just to avoid a repeat of last year’s scenario. 

As for the second seat, there have been persistent rumors recently that Mercedes has announced that Russell will be promoted to replace Bottas at the British Grand Prix next month (July 16-18). 

The Finn brushed aside these rumors last Thursday at Circuit Paul Ricard, insisting that no one at Mercedes had informed him of his non-renewal. “ This is all pure speculation for clicks and is not based on any facts. “, Bottas declared. 

Russell was not much more forthcoming, having nevertheless declared earlier in the year that he would like his future to be decided by the summer break, around the time of the Hungarian GP (July 30 – 1 august). 

Asked about the timing of the decision on Friday evening at Castellet (Var), Wolff potentially dashed any hope of a quick resolution. 

« It will be during the winter I think, said the Austrian manager. But I don't know if it will be December, January, or February ». 

Relaunched on the subject, Wolff confirmed that such a calendar was “ entirely possible because we have always shown loyalty to our drivers and we are proving it again ». 

Even if the Brackley boss suggests that Bottas still has his chances, we still have the feeling that the Finn has reached the end of his shared history with Mercedes, which began in 2017 following the surprise retirement of Nico Rosberg . 

Just as we have trouble seeing Russell stay for a 4th season in a row with Williams, where Bottas could find refuge after starting his career F1 at the Grove stable (United Kingdom) in 2013.

However, we can wonder if Wolff is not keeping his options open as long as possible to compensate for a possible withdrawal of Hamilton at the end of the season. 

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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