George Russell, Williams, Imola, 2020

Williams end speculation over Russell and confirm both drivers will remain for 2021

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Williams have moved to end speculation over the future of their driver line-up by confirming George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will drive for them next year.

Prior to the team’s sale, former deputy team principal Claire Williams said both drivers would be retained for 2021. However after the team was taken over by Dorilton speculation mounted that the team could move to hire Sergio Perez to replace Russell next year.

Last week acting team principal Simon Roberts declined to confirm both drivers will remain with the team next year. However today Roberts said Russell and Latifi will stay with the team for the 2021 F1 season.

“I probably caused a bit of confusion last week,” said Roberts. “I’m sorry about that.

“We didn’t really want to comment on the driver position. As George said Claire made the announcement earlier this year. Nothing’s changed and this is our driver line-up for this year and next year. We’re very happy with them and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
Russell said “nothing has changed” in his position at the team. “It was announced obviously earlier this year. Obviously a lot of speculation is going around and as I said there’s a lot of good drivers on the market but I’ll be in the seat with Williams in 2021, that’s what I can tell you.”

The Mercedes junior believes the speculation surrounding his future at the team was prompted by parties linked to Perez, who is believed to be in line for a move to Red Bull in place of Alexander Albon next year.

“It’s always nice to have stability, it’s never nice to hear any speculation that your job is potentially up for grabs,” said Russell. “Nevertheless I was confident in what I could perform on track and ultimately I had to do the talking on track and I was confident nothing would change moving into 2021 even with all the speculation going around.

“Like I said I think a lot of the speculation was fed by other team members or teams surrounding drivers to create these issues over the last couple of weeks. So I’m definitely happy and pleased to continue on this journey.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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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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30 comments on “Williams end speculation over Russell and confirm both drivers will remain for 2021”

  1. Glad.

    Guess Perez got the RB drive too then.

    1. Was hoping for some Hulk love, but that’s basically over now…

    2. My understanding has always been that Haas was waiting for him.

    3. Considering how speculations over Gasly/Renault, Russell/Williams and Alfa Romeo went, expect Albon to keep his seat. So much rumors for nothing !

    4. Haha, yeah my same thoughts too. The money, aka Perez went to Red Bull

  2. Oh this is good news for Russell. I am pleased for him.

    So it leaves the Red Bull/Alpha Tauri seats to be confirmed and the two at Haas. One of these has to be Mick Schumacher though I imagine.

    1. And the other Mazepin?

      So no excuses from us Hamilton fans come 2022? Either Bottas wins the WDC next year, or he is out at Mercedes.

      1. Mazepin probably, sad though it is. Would be nice to think with Schumacher onboard they could afford Hulk, but I don’t think so. Perez to RB I would say is almost a certainty, definitely looking forward to that though.

        1. Me too, I hope you’re right, hell, they confirmed gasly is staying at alpha, and although I believe kvyat did the best job of the 3 drivers at red bull, given he’s been recently outperformed by gasly I doubt they’d take him, at this point if albon is gone it’s all good, they’ll surely be able to get someone good enough from outside the red bull program, perez and hulk are great choices.

  3. Good news. Both of them had very good racecrafts in a selected number of races. They really came close to score points, hope they’ll success.

  4. Latifi I guess because he’s partly paying for the drive, but there are certainly better options out there. This along with Giovinazzi inexplicably staying is just, annoying. There are so many good drivers out there available for seats and not enough seats to go around. F1 really could do with another two or three teams. There’s too many seats being occupied by drivers that really aren’t worth the money they’re bringing for it, and too many out of seats because they just don’t have the cash to buy in. It’s sad. A couple of smaller backmarkers, like the Minardis or Super Aguris would go far to keeping these talents in the sport rather than just waving them off.

    1. Completely agree that only 20 seats is killing off some very decent drivers. Sadly the $200m entry farce means it will continue for years to come.

    2. Don’t know why people thought Latifi was going to be forced out. Dorilton was probably looking for someone to offer more than what they get for George, just that, anybody really. In short they were waiting to see if Perez was going to make an offer.

  5. Was really hoping for Hulkenberg at Red Bull instead of Perez. I think he’d be a much better fit for the team dynamic, plus you can’t help but root for the guy after getting hung out by Renault for Ocon.

    1. @aiii equally one could root for Perez, having being kicked out of the team he saved in favour of the owner’s son and a washed-up vanity signing.

      1. Yes, they’ve both been hard done by, both talented, and in a meritocratic world would both have seats in F1.

        1. @casanova mind you, it’s not exactly as if Hulkenberg hasn’t had a decent length career as it is. He’s had nine full seasons as a main driver, plus his 2011 season where he was very active for a reserve driver (taking part in practice sessions as 14 of the 18 venues that season).

          To put it into perspective, when he made his 179th start at the Eifel Grand Prix this year, Hulkenberg was the sixth most experienced driver on the grid in terms of race starts – you’ll probably still find quite a few drivers who wished that they “only” had a career that has lasted as long as Hulkenberg’s career has in F1.

      2. Completely agree with TFLB, vettel signing was silly, looking forward to see his (under)performance last year next to stroll!

        1. Ops, next year ofc

  6. Seems Perez has already chosen his destination… So either Haas and all the rumors were wrong, or RedBull and the fate of Hulk and Albon is sealed. But good for Russel, he really deserves his seat in F1.

    1. Do we have confirmation Perez is getting a seat? It might just be that Mercedes have paid for Russell to keep his seat and Latifi paid more than Perez’s sponsors were going to.

      1. I doubt Mercedes would pay for Russel to keep this seat – Williams probably got a discount on the engine back when his contract was signed, but I doubt they would pay any more. more likely than not, Williams wanted to give Russel the boot but Russel wasn’t going to have it and Williams didn’t want to pay a 3rd contract to replace Russel (like Ferrari did in 2009 for Raikkonen)

  7. This whole time, they had been under contract, so people should’ve just gone by this info.

    1. in Formula 1 though, contracts are made to be broken. Perez was under contract too (although it was probably modified during 2020 with an “out” option)

    2. They can buy him out, they’ll be a clause in there as there are in all these contracts.

  8. Were Sir Frank still the owner at Williams, Perez may well have got the drive. However Dorilton and their investors take a long term view of the businesses in their portfolio.

    I would not be surprised to see Williams Advanced Engineering also become part of Dorilton and the consultancy business working with and developing technology with other group companies.

  9. A pathetic decision from the new Williams owners that shows they are in the category just for the money.
    Keeping two paid drivers, mediocre to say the least, instead of hiring at least one veteran driver of proven quality like Pérez or Hulkemberg or Grosjean or Magnussen from a sporting point of view is ridiculous.
    Obviously the team will continue to be mired in mediocrity as it has been up to now with those inconsequential drivers, despite the extraordinary montage of the English press that is friendly to Wolff for making us believe that one of them is a good pilot.

    1. Wow. Don’t hold back @jorge-lardone

      Maybe your namesake is actually pretty decent, given his record before joining F1, winning the GP3 and F2 championships and the fact he is yet to be outqualified in 33 races.

      1. Forget Verstappen and Leclerc. F1’s next superstar could just be George Russell. They’re not even in the running for most favourite driver once the Norris and Ricciardo show starts next year.

  10. Sensible move. Continuity and take it from there. One talent, one half-decent pay driver.

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