George Russell, Mercedes, Yas Marina

Russell sees Mercedes as only possible alternative to Williams in 2021

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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George Russell says he is unlikely to drive for any team other than Williams next year – unless he is called up by Mercedes.

The 22-year-old is in his fourth year on Mercedes’ young driver programme and his second season in Williams’ F1 team as part of a long-term deal. He said team principal Claire Williams is only likely to release him if an opportunity to join Mercedes arises, as happened for Valtteri Bottas at the end of 2016.

“I have a contract with Williams next year,” said Russell. “I am a Mercedes junior driver. So I don’t think Claire would allow me to go anywhere else, potentially other than Mercedes.

“Even then, who knows? Like I say, that’s not in my hands, that’s in her hands and for the powers above me to deal with and see what happens there. I’m just focussed on my job and that’s all I can do.”

Russell said he was pleased to see Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 next year with Renault, alongside former Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon.

“I was quite pleased about it because Formula 1 is about having the best of the best drivers,” said Russell. “Fernando is absolutely one of the best.

“There’s arguments that people feel like he is depriving younger drivers of an opportunity. But I think as things currently stand it makes complete sense for Renault and for Fernando. I think he’ll come back and do a great job.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

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8 comments on “Russell sees Mercedes as only possible alternative to Williams in 2021”

  1. I like this guy, and I think he deserves a chance in a better car.

    Hopefully it will come his way somehow in the not too distant future. He carries himself very well IMHO and keeping his composure while he’s making up the numbers shows he has a good attitude.

  2. Indeed, but unfortunately for him, the most likely scenario is that Mercedes will keep on continuing with the present pairing.

  3. 2022 could be a big year for Russel and Ocon.

  4. That’s another year at the back for him sadly.

    But I’m sure he will end up in a Mercedes for sure.

  5. tony mansell
    9th July 2020, 15:56

    Well if he’s still as cautious at the start of races by 2021 then he should be very pleased at retaining his seat. He goes backwards in races and hasn’t shown anything like what is required to get the Mercedes drive. For all the back slapping he gets, there’s nothing tangible yet.

  6. The moment Bottas gets booted or Hamilton quits, George is in.

    Not a bad place to be in theory. But most probable it is not going to happen, what was the last junior driver Mercedes promoted?

    1. Well, the Mercedes Junior Team is fairly recent and only 6 drivers in total were or are linked to them :

      – Pascal Werlhein, who won a DTM title with Mercedes-Benz and left in 2018,
      – Esteban Ocon, who left in 2019,
      – George Russell, probably the biggest chance to get promoted,
      – Andrea Kimi Antonelli, still a karting driver and not even 14.
      – same as Alex Powell who was born in 2007
      – Paul Aron who just finished 3rd in F4 Italian Championship.

  7. Bruno Verrari
    9th July 2020, 21:35

    Isn’t this Russel extremely overrsted?
    What did he achieve before? Last year?
    I’d be hugely skeptical..!
    Any free Mercedes seat should go to the German World Champ!

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