George Russell, Williams, Paul Ricard, 2021

Russell and Bottas say no decision yet on 2022 Mercedes seats

2021 French Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas and George Russell have denied rumours Mercedes have decided which of them will drive for the team in the 2022 F1 season.

Mercedes is yet to confirm either of its drivers for next year. But with Lewis Hamilton widely expected to extend his stay with the world champions, speculation surrounds whether Mercedes will retain Bottas as his team mate or promote its junior driver Russell from Williams.

Today Bottas dismissed reports claiming Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff has already told him he will lose his seat for 2022. “With Toto, we speak often, that’s normal for us. And we’ve also spoken lately. That’s normal.

“But I can’t confirm that. At least, nobody’s told me about that. So that’s not true. That’s speculation.

“I’m sure that [it’s] all kinds of speculation that is not based on any facts. People are trying to make up stories just for the clicks. That’s how it goes.”

Bottas is in his fifth season at Mercedes, having renewed his contract on a year-by-year basis so far. He said the point at which negotiations over new deals begin can vary from season to season.

“Every year is different. Always it depends how your season has been and depends on the overall situation of the team, if they are looking for other options or not at all. So some years earlier, some years later, there’s not a norm.

“All I can say that we just want to focus on the next three races. It’s going to require a lot from us as a team before we make any decisions together.”

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He doesn’t have a “gut feeling” about where he will be next year. “I haven’t really allowed myself to think about that too much because that can become a distraction. I’ve learnt that. So it will come at some point. So for now, the gut is not saying anything, I just want to win races and get the results that I am aiming for personally.”

Russell said he is also yet to begin discussions on who he will be driving for in 2022. “Obviously, I’m aware of all of the speculation, but right now I’m just enjoying driving race by race,” he said.

“I want to get my future nailed down at some point. But right now I’m just focussed on this weekend, French Grand Prix into Austria.”

The Williams driver hopes his plans will be fixed by the summer break. He admitted he is “enjoying the curiosity of what’s to come” after his third season with his current team. “It’s sometimes exciting not knowing what the future holds,” he said.

“I’m still a Williams driver. I haven’t signed any contracts beyond [2021]. So I’m just fully focussed on on my job at the moment.

“So as I said, hopefully my future gets settled one way or another, maybe come the summer break.”

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2021 French Grand Prix

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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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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10 comments on “Russell and Bottas say no decision yet on 2022 Mercedes seats”

  1. So it’s a done deal then

    1. @bernasaurus My impression, listening to them, Bottas anxious and defensive, Russell calm and upbeat, it sounds like George has been told something Valtteri hasn’t. Not exactly signed off but almost as good as.

  2. Definitely swapping

  3. Bottas is in his fifth season at Mercedes, having renewed his contract on a year-by-year basis so far.

    This yearly contract renewal looks unfair to me. It is sort of like Mercedes don’t want Valtteri, but they daren’t employ anyone else, and you’re left wondering why. So every year Mercedes go through the process of getting contract bids from Valtteri and probably several other drivers as well, raising up everyone’s hopes they might get that prestigious seat, and then instead they opt for Valtteri, which they were going to do anyway.
    I guess the question is have they now decided they really must face the reality of not having Valtteri as Lewis’s team mate, and if they have what do they want his replacement to do? Finish just behind Lewis in the WDC? Valtteri’s done that for the last two years.

    1. Bottas’ 2020 result was abysmal, he was at 1 foot from losing 2nd place to verstappen in a red bull that had nothing to do with mercedes, everyone could’ve done that.

    2. In fact, when ferrari had a decent car bottas didn’t even beat vettel.

      1. @esploratore1 When Ferrari had the fastest car of the field, Vettel didn’t beat Hamilton you mean?

    3. @drycrust Well they asked Bottas to improve. To be closer behind Hamilton. Especially after 2018. Then 2019 wasn’t really any better and neither was 2020. So they give him a year to show improvement and then they asses their options. Bottas has been lucky that they have given him all these extra chances to show further improvement.

      Now Red Bull has the fastest car and Mercedes needs a driver that’s closer in performance to Hamilton than ever before. Especially with Hamilton close to retiring, even a driver that could take over their WDC challenge. Bottas is a great driver, but he’s not at the level that he could fulfil that role.

  4. RocketTankski
    17th June 2021, 21:48

    Bottas will be in a Mercedes year. Mostly between the airport and hotel.

  5. In politics they say you never believe anything until it has been denied twice.

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