Williams should hire Russell, Norris or Leclerc – Wolff

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff gives his view on which driver his former team Williams should hire.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Will Red Bull be competitive from the off in 2018?

Got to agree with Daniel Ricciardo’s assessment of Red Bulls chances for next year. They started the season a second per lap down on the Mercedes and Ferraris, and gradually caught up at the end of the year to get within two to three tenths of both teams. They probably gained anywhere between 0.5s to 0.8s a lap more in the development race as compared to both Mercedes and Ferrari.

If they can start next season being down only 0.2s to 0.3s from the leading team, it’s entirely possible that they will have the quickest car mid season onwards. I would go as far as saying that they’ll definitely build a better car than Ferrari next year.

Although, a lot of this will depend on the Renault engine’s gains. Renault needs to still find more one-lap performance and sort its reliability out, then I think we’re on for a proper battle between the Mercedes and Red Bull, which I think will be far more exciting than Mercedes vs Ferrari.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bascb, Olliekart, Bosyber, Curmudgeon and Pat Ruadh!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

  • Born today in 1962: Bertrand Gachot

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

74 comments on “Williams should hire Russell, Norris or Leclerc – Wolff”

  1. Since last year, Adrian Newey’s book’s come out, so everyone will build a better car…

    1. And they will be even better in 2019, when they’ve had a full year to absorb its lessons and apply them to the start of the design cycle!

  2. Been a very quiet silly season so far! It appears to be the same stories on repeat:
    • Williams still haven’t chosen a driver
    • Vettel was too emotional
    • Kvyat lost his speed
    • Halo is [insert opinion]

    Any more I have missed?

    I’ll take that as a blessing though, given the stuff that sometimes comes up!

    1. Can’t forget Marchionne’s Marching Band doing drum-banging laps around the news sites, towing a big dollar-shaped float emblazoned with the words ‘We might leave’.

      1. And loose $90 free money that hastobe replaced by shareholders, not usually keen to spend money, (as it would have to be if marchionne is going to start his own wonder racing series) but happy to take guarantee returns.

        I think you have covered the lot there.

  3. I’ll be honest, I don’t follow junior categories that closely. I mean, I often know their results and standings, but never actually watch the races. So I would like the opinions of some racing fanatics. Of Leclerc, Russell and Norris, which driver appears to have the highest ceiling, and most likely to be successful in F1? From what I’ve heard, the order appears to be 1. Leclerc, 2. Norris and 3. Russell, but I’m not sure.

    1. @mashiat It’s hard to say, they’re all three very good. I think Russell as the lesser of the three, and feel LeClerc is the most ready for F1 right now.

    2. Leclerc probably has the highest ceiling (and it’s a high one) but if he does, Norris’ is only marginally lower. It would not surprise me if they were title rivals in F1 at some point. However, Norris is also a year behind Leclerc in development at this point (hardly surprising due to his comparitive age and experiences). Russell is a year behind Norris and harder to assess in terms of ceiling.

      Also worth noting that Russell is the only one of the three who isn’t contracted to another team for 2018, and Wolff has previous experience with working with Williams. This may be an early move for the 2019 seat (if one is available) even if realistically, 2018 would be too early for George.

  4. What worries me about the Red Bull vs. Mercedes vs. Ferrari vs. McLaren battle is that historically (I understand this may have no relevance to next year), Ferrari tends to have an underwhelming car to start the season whenever people expect them to do well. 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 are such examples. But when people don’t expect them to be at the top e.g. 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017, they tend to surprise everyone. Red Bull also tends to start the season off in a fairly uninspiring manner, before their development in the mid-season/Asian race phase of the championship catapults them forward. McLaren, well, they seem the perfect fit to be the 4th best team in F1. Mercedes may run away with the championship in the early part of the season, and more often than not, it’s fairly obvious which driver will be ahead most of the time. I hope for the sake of F1 that this isn’t the case and we have a fantastic battle at the front. Imagine a season like 2014-2016, with the addition of the halo. Let’s just say Liberty may not be as well-liked anymore.

    1. Dr. Randy Weiss
      23rd December 2017, 5:54

      I think that the decision to use a halo should be left up to the individual driver, not a mandatory across the board decision.

      Dr. Randy Weiss

      1. If that was done, all teams would refuse to apply Halo due to the 10 kg net weight increase, whether the drivers wanted Halo or not and regardless of the safety increase its proponents suggest exists.

    2. @mashiat sometimes you guys really annoy me. What’s the deal with this overwhelming negativity? Yes the merc was the most dominant car ever in terms of speed advantage. But we got 2/3 Championships going to the wire, one even to the Very last lap. We got a fair share of epic races as well, just look at the top 100 rate the race results here on this Very site! So what is it? Still Throwing toys from the pram ’cause ‘muh v8 sound’? Why Not moan about how dreadfully dull racing in 2000-2004 was? Or in 1988-1993? Naah that was awesome cause Member Senna? Member v10s?
      /end rant
      Merry Christmas!

      1. > just look at the top 100 rate the race results here on this Very site!

        Well let’s look at the list then. The best 2017 race which was baku is 10th in that last. Bahrain is 34th and spanish gp is 38th. Those “cause muh v8 sound” races fill the top spots on that list. Also the list begins at 2008 so obviously V10 races are not on that list.

        I really hope these hybrid engines are gone as soon as possible. The racing is so poor quality. Nothing except boring drs passes, fuel saving and massive differences between teams. Next year is going to be mercedes year as well. Personally I’d rather take bernie back than race any more seasons with these overcomplicated disaster engines.

        1. @socksolid 6 of the top Ten races are from the hybrid era. Just go watch indycar if You want spec cars. Also rewatch some 2000 races if You want to See poor racing. So are the v10s disaster engines as well? All they do is swap positions during refills!!111!

          1. I think this discussion tactic you are using is called strawman. You take my argument, make it into something completely different then attack that version you created version with nonsensical comparisons.

          2. Well you’re the one who dragged 2017 into the discussion in the first place, after all it was about the hurr-durr, 2014-16 was so terrible part.
            And then i’ve grown really tired as all this pointless fan-moaning has Now actually lead to us getting completely dumbed down crapversions of the current engines in 2020 that are actually a massive step back. Thanks a bunch by the way!

        2. And yet another fan who predictably proclaims that they have the solution to everything whilst simultaneously proposing solutions that would drive the sport into the ground.

          Look, we know that you are obsessed with those V10’s, but why do you complain about costs and then propose going back to a format that was even more ruinously expensive and drove multiple teams to bankruptcy? There was no difference in field spread and the midfield teams were no closer to the front of the grid either – as has been pointed out, until Brawn came along in 2009, the same handful of teams had dominated the sport for over 30 years.

          1. @anon You just brought facts into it. It’s a common mistake

          2. I’ve never said to go back to V10s. Also if you go back to v8 era (I don’t want to go back to v8s either) the gaps were smaller. The midfield was not hopelessly uncompetitive as it is now. Ferrari and mercedes can start from the pits and after couple of drs passes they have to have catastrophic races not to finish in top 4. This is because of the hybrid engines.

          3. @socksolid course it is! Like Abu Dhabi 2012! Oh, wait…

          4. And yet ANOTHER guy who posts in the warm cloak of anonymity. Listen people, your opinion is important but please don’t try to hide… Just sign up. It’s that easy…

          5. @socksolid, I think that you will find that you have in fact previously stated that the sport should go back to V10 engines, so it is a lie for you to now claim that you have never said “go back to V10’s” before.

            Equally, I wouldn’t say that the midfield were that much more competitive in the V8 era either – Red Bull produced cars during the V8 era that dominated the field, such as the RB7 (still statistically amongst the most dominant cars ever in the history of the sport). The midfield pack weren’t really any better off either, being shunted back behind the manufacturer backed teams and scoring little better than they are now.

            As for your complaints about Ferrari and Mercedes, as MrBoerns notes, we also saw quite a few races in the V8 era where drivers who had fairly dominant cars easily cruised through most of the field – remember Webber going from 18th on the grid in the 2011 Chinese GP to finish on the podium? Or going from 19th to 4th in the 2012 European GP? Vettel going from 15th to 4th in the 2009 Brazilian GP?

        3. @socksolid ”I really hope these hybrid engines are gone as soon as possible. The racing is so poor quality. Nothing except boring drs passes, fuel saving and massive differences between teams. Next year is going to be mercedes year as well.” – Stop living in denial already! Just stop.

          1. @jerejj he’s actually on to something. In fact minardi was about to pull a shocker on the field in 06. However, when the v10s were abandoned and all the big teams ran away with these disaster v8s, the Frustration actually led stoddard to sell to Red Bull.

    3. Let’s just say Liberty may not be as well-liked anymore.

      What’s Liberty got to do with Ferrari’s yo-yo performance, Mercedes’ dominance, or even the addition of the Halo?

      1. Nothing. but f1 fans aren’t known for connecting the dots very well

        1. @johnmilk – you had me literally laughing out loud. Nice one.

          1. @mrboerns ”In fact minardi was about to pull a shocker on the field in 06.”
            – Even if the V10s had stayed, I highly doubt Minardi could’ve suddenly become a top team, if that’s what you’re trying to imply. It was a regular ‘bottom of the grid’ small team, and a little team just can’t compete with the top teams regardless of which type of engine is being used.

      2. It’s the “face” of F1 to the general public. Regardless of the actual cause of negative stuff in F1 not directly attributable to on-track driver-team actions, it’s the most likely target for resulting flak.

        1. Imagine all flak the Primera Division will get from Madrid today!

          Merry Christmas.

  5. Williams can’t hire (even if they wanted to) at least two of the drivers mentioned by Toto as they’re already contracted to different teams (Leclerc and Norris to Sauber and Mclaren respectively). I’m not too sure about Russell, though, whether he’d be entirely out of the question or not.

    1. @jerejj I believe Russell is focusing on Formula 2 and FP sessions with Force India. I’d rather have Russell in the Force India or Williams by 2019 as I’d want a well prepared driver. Look at Stroll, for example. With a year in F2 he’d be surely better.

    2. Contracts don’t mean anything in F1. They can always be broken for the right amount of $. Has happened many, many times in the past.

      1. They do to teams who are watching their pennies and therefore won’t/can’t spend “the right amount of $” (as Williams are at the moment). Your general point, Andy, is nonetheless correct.

    3. Williams are obviously looking for a driver that brings in the most cash.

      Leclerc is Ferrari’s next great hope, he won’t be caught driving a Merc anytime soon. Norris and Russell may be a little inexperienced.

      Williams need a driver that brings money and is experienced, a bit of a “want their cake and eat it too” situation. Sadly, there aren’t too many drivers who fit the bill.

  6. I don’t know where the COTD’s information coming from to say that RBR will “definitely build a better car than Ferrari next year”. They said that about this year as well with confidence as well remember @todfod. Pure baseless speculation on your part if you ask me.

      1. -1 @jerejj, @montreal95 only quoted part of the sentence.

        The full quote of @todfod: “I would go as far as saying that they’ll definitely build a better car than Ferrari next year.” Clearly his opinion (or call it ‘speculation’ if you wish).

        Merry Christmas!

    1. @montreal95

      Man.. read the comment properly. It’s a personal opinion, not a fact. Highlighted by the use of the words “I would”

      If you want to know what the logic behind that statement, refer to the 1st paragraph of the comment, where I’ve mentioned the amount of time gained by Red Bull over Ferrari in the development race, and that’s why I think they’ll have a stronger car than Ferrari next year.

      Thanks for the COTD @keithcollantine !

  7. When you looked at his reading and music choices he was pretty intellectual…

    Which ‘music choices’ make you seem intellectual?

    1. British neo-progressive rock band “IQ”?

      Anyway, the whole “Williams still to pick a driver story” is pretty boring now. They should do some sort of Red Bull mid-2000’s Klien/Liuzzi car share between Sirotkin and Kubica for the first half of the season (where they alternate it) and then put the better of the two in the car for the rest of it. Or something.

    2. From that answer that is not the bit you want single out.

      “…lets hope it was thinking” is a much better point to start an argument

  8. There’s this clip on Youtube on the official F1 that I think everyone should watch.


    1. That drift at 2’50” though!

  9. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    23rd December 2017, 12:49

    Lose: the opposite of win
    Loose: the opposite of tight.

    Sorry I have read this mix-up all year long. Just my two cents.

    1. Give him brake ;)

  10. Wolff saying Williams should take a chance on new talent is hypocrisy when he himself didn’t promote Mercedes’ own driver Wehrlein and instead went for the safe bet without having any financial considerations like Williams.

    1. Wolff is a nice bloke, but that doesn’t mean we have to believe what he says. He’s fallen victim to the snowflake generation like so many now in F1.

      I wonder what he felt about his wife being employed by Williams as a driver when she’s never won a race or pole in her whole racing career.

      1. BigJoe, I’d say that the sport is more blighted these days by those that are often termed “bro-flakes”, or those who play up their machismo yet tend to be the ones with the thinnest skins and often are the swiftest to take offence.

  11. So who do we think was doing the suspension trick? Red Bull?

    1. @balue, I imagine that the suspicion will fall on Red Bull given they are reported as pushing for an expansion in the scope to modify the suspension systems of the car and were arguing against this motion.

    2. I’d say (almost) all of them; just some were more successful.

    3. Silly me, I thought one of the points of having suspension was to react to the front wheels turning.

      What next, remove the anti-roll elements from the suspension?

  12. Schumacher and Hamilton swerve at starts when they’ve recently won championships = a tactic within the rules
    Vettel swerve at the start when he hasn’t won a championship in a whilst = ’emotions getting the better of him’

    If Vettel was still dominating Hamilton in F1 then this would have just ben called a gamble that didn’t pay off

    classic ‘build them up knock them down mentality’ or ‘kick them whilst they’re down’ and not exclusive to F1 either

    1. I will always think of Singapore 2017 as just racing. Many assume SV just had to keep it clean or whatever and he would have won and LH would have come 5th, where he started from. There is no way SV was sitting there after Saturday’s grid was set, knowing Max was beside him, and assuming anything. LH sitting 5th was a small help to SV for the race start, but no way SV would be assuming that’s where he’d stay. There is no doing anything but going for it 100% when you have Max beside you, because he certainly will be.

      SV did a normal move to the left and could not have known Max, who was being left room, was being sandwiched on the other side by Kimi. End of. What disappointed me was Brundle setting the tone by saying he ‘risked too much’ yet having watched the pre-race stuff there was Brundle saying SV would have to go for it with Max beside him.

      No wonder SV sloughs this off as just racing. Because that’s all it was. Criticism of him for Singapore comes purely from using the luxury of hindsight.

    2. Exactly. A pole sitter squeezing into T1, L1 to keep the lead is not at all unusual and don’t belong to the emotional and hot-head moves, especially as it was crucial in the championship to get max points and he certainly would not expect his own team mate to try 3-wide into a wet Singapore T1 with so much at stake.

      Maybe Wolff is just helping to psyche out Vettel for next year here.

    3. Vettel’s been squeezing people out as he heads into T1 for his entire F1 career… and it rarely works out for him. Usually he just wastes time getting to the first turn, and allows the other drivers to catch up. In Singapore, it really worked out badly for him.

      Instead of trying to be clever, he should focus on getting to turn one first.

      1. Exactly that. Remember Spa 2016. He just takes T1 as if there are no other drivers. Born out of the luxury he had for four years in his RB I guess

    4. I agree. Vettel’s Singapore actions are called a terrible error but because what he had done but because of consequences, which is wrong. He didn’t make a big mistake actually, the stewards didn’t punish him at all even though the incident eliminated three other frontrunners. But the narrative became popula and so on.

  13. Well both Newey and Wolff are complaining about the halo which means that neither Mercedes nor Red Bull are able to integrate the halo into the car and make it look like it’s part of the car and they have the budgets and a reason to make it look nice.

    We have to assume that the smaller teams are probably just going to add a standardized halo which will probably look much worse than the one on the Red Bull and Mercedes.

    Performance-wise, besides the potential performance impact on the driver’s visibility which will probably affect some drivers more adversely than others, is there a performance aspect to the Halo?

    1. Was anyone really expecting the halo to look like part of the car? Maybe it will in time as we get used to them, but not initially methinks. Performance wise the device itself is neutral with slight detriment to airflow behind it, and visibility will not be obstructed for any driver imho.

  14. If Williams are going down the semi-pay driver route, then I wish they’d just stick Kubica in there for my personal satisfaction and all the great PR it’ll get them. If they’re gonna go purely on pace and Sirotkin or someone else gets it, great. But if they’re basically balancing ok pace with great money, then I know what I’m wishing for this xmas.

  15. Regarding Kvyat’s direction:
    “I am but mad north-north-west.” ̶H̶a̶m̶l̶e̶t̶ Dr. Marko
    Dear doctor, I recommend you “A Little South Of Sanity” by Aerosmith

  16. RE: Suspension:

    “any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited”

    Nice. Banned all driver movement when they push DRS button.

  17. Wolf should hire those drivers himself.. if they are really that good BOT could be a place to start…..

    If I was Williams I hire KVY or WER – proven and experienced…

  18. Regarding COTD: sorry, we’ve heard this before from RB. People forget way too fast..

Comments are closed.