George Russell, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

“I’ll be on the grid next year with Williams”: Russell dismisses speculation over his future

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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George Russell has dismissed speculation over his future at Williams, saying he expects to remain with the team next year.

The Mercedes junior driver made his debut for the team last year and Williams announced earlier this season he will continue to drive for them in 2021. However reports last week cast doubt on his future at the team following its takeover by new owners Dorilton Capital.

But Russell says the change of owners will not affect his future at the team. “I have a contract for next year,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “With the new owners coming in nothing has changed whatsoever from a contractual perspective under the new ownership.”

However Russell admitted he hasn’t discussed Dorilton’s plans for 2021 with them yet. “I’ve actually not spoken to the new owners about it because from my side there’s no concerns.

“There’ll all be here this weekend, I’m sure any air will be cleared but I’m not concerned and I’ll be on the grid next year with Williams.”

“There’s obviously always speculation,” Russell added. “I guess the media like to build a lot up.

“It’s understandable there’s speculation because there’s so many great drivers who are available fighting for a place on the grid now with Sergio [Perez], both the Haas guys, [Nico] Hulkenberg as well. So there’s always going to be speculation. Unfortunately in Formula 1 there isn’t necessarily always space for everyone who deserves to be here.”

Russell said he will discuss his situation with Mercedes if needed. “I’m in contact with the guys at Mercedes weekly, we’re always staying in touch. I feel in really privileged position to have their full support behind me and long-term I think I’m in a great position.

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“If it really comes to that obviously I’ll be speaking to them but sitting here right now I have no reason to be concerned.”

The arrival of new owners at Williams is a reason for optimism about the team’s future, Russell believes.

“There’s probably even less concern for me now that we do have new owners in place who are investing massively into the company which is really exciting. They’re focused on bringing new, exciting talent into the team and the financial worries that may have been around in the team in years gone by are no longer there.

“Obviously Formula 1’s a very expensive sport but with the new investment, new owners around it, it’s really exciting. And already seeing glimpses of what they’re doing, being part of that over the past 18 months and the direction we’re heading in, it’s a really exciting time. Not only for them, but for me to have gone through the struggles of the past 18 months and to be part of that journey into 2021 to hopefully propel the team realistically, in the best case scenario, into the midfield battle.”

Russell’s team mate Nicholas Latifi said he is also secure in his future at the team.

“Like George said, we have a contract and just because the team is under new ownership now doesn’t really change anything on that front so I’m not concerned at all. I have a contract with the team for next year and I’m confident I’m going to be on the grid next year.”

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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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14 comments on ““I’ll be on the grid next year with Williams”: Russell dismisses speculation over his future”

  1. I have no reason to doubt their confidence in their positions, nothing to go by that would make me think they both won’t be at Williams next year, but I did chuckle a bit when they both said they have contracts. So did Perez have a contract. A contract is something, and is a comfort and a confidence builder I’m sure, but it is no guarantee. I wish them and Williams only the best and an upward trajectory under their new ownership.

    1. Yeah, the “have a contract” just means that the team will have to talk with them over severance of the contract @robbie.

      I understood that Perez is really weighing Haas or Williams. Maybe the Dorilton guys aren’t as keen on keeping Latifi, and could replace him for Perez to keep Russel, who certainly showed he deserves a drive, unlike Latifi, who has not shown much pace, nor really too much progress to ward a spot, apart from his father making up the books.

  2. Russell is in the worst car at the moment, but he is in the prime position to get one of the seats of the grid’s best team and car in case Bottas or Hamilton get removed from their drives. I’d say he should just wait for 2022. Williams were the 2nd fastest car in 2014, and at times, they could challenge Mercedes in qualifying during the latter parts of 2014. Bottas almost stole pole from Hamilton in Russia and Massa was just like a tenth off them in Q3. It still bugs me as to how they lost that amount of performance over the last 6 years.

    1. Whats Russell done on race day that makes him in prime position?

      1. The fact that he is a Mercedes Factory Driver. And the fact that he got never out qualified by a team mate. And the fact that he won the F2 championship ahead of many people who are on the grid right now. And finally the fact that he only failed to finish 7 times ahead of his team mate in all the races he crossed the finish line…..

        1. I apologise, it is only 5 times out of 26 GPs (80% of the races) he managed crossed the finish line…

  3. I take that to mean he’s off to Formula E.

  4. I am sure George will be on the grid for Williams next season..However there is limited development that can be done to the car for next season, certainly not a couple of seconds a lap, and the team will be looking at 2022 anyway, and probably will not have the money or resources to do both car designs, so by staying I wonder if he is helping his own career by staying at that end of the grid.
    I have to say, I think he is more than capable of giving Lewis a hard time in a Mercedes

  5. Russell is good enough to be in F1 but so are a lot of other drivers.

    He’s got a great record but his teamate last year was disabled and had no business being in F1 (it was a danger to other drivers), and beat a pay driver this year.

    He’ll get other chances at some point because he has a good record, but his attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Very arrogant.

    Compare his attitude to that of a humble Mick Schumacher.

    1. How was Kubica a danger?

    2. Generally I don’t care about attitudes about the nicer drivers and only know the hated drivers’ attitudes.

  6. Unless I didn’t read correctly, it seems that Russel basically says that he has a contract but hasn’t spoke to the new owners about 2021…
    Well, Perez raced many years with 1-year contracts, signed a 3-year one and got dumped after the first…

    So in a way, the title from this piece seems like famous last words…

    1. Except “the title from this piece” has George’s surname spelt correctly

  7. Stephen Higgins
    23rd October 2020, 10:40

    I don’t know how much control Mercedes has on Russel’s seat or his contract terms. But it would be prudent for him to search for seat outside Mercedes supplied teams, if he gets the boot from Williams. RB is one obvious choice given their nervous situation with Max getting a little iffy with the whole RB-Honda closure.

    Mercedes has a very good young drivers’ program until the drivers become F1 ready. They don’t have seats on offer for them. With Lewis taking F1 records to new level with every race, the top Mercedes seat is fully occupied indefinitely. Even after his retirement, Mercedes can get any driver they want- contracted or not. Max is ever ready for that seat anyway.

    Mercedes needs to be sensible with their other drivers. They have already lost Ocon for good (and he’s on the brink of losing his Renault drive to Gasly if rumors are to be believed) and Russel is very much the next fall guy. I hope they will release him once Perez is confirmed by Williams or yet another driver’s career will be affected before its time.

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