George Russell insists “nothing has changed” regarding his contract for next year with Williams – but admits there have been no recent talks with the team.
Speculation has intensified in the last couple of weeks that Williams’ new owners, American investment company Dorilton Capital, are considering dropping Russell to make way for Sergio Perez, who is leaving Racing Point to make way for Sebastian Vettel.
Although Russell, who is in his second season of a three-year deal with Williams, has outperformed his rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi this term, the Canadian brings a higher amount of sponsorship revenue to the team.
The Briton – who remains a Mercedes junior driver and, according to the World Champions’ team principal Toto Wolff, is a future candidate for a race seat there – expects to clear the air with the Williams management but, as far as he is concerned, it is business as usual.
“I have a contract for next year with the new owners coming in,” said Russell during his press conference on the eve of the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend, reported by Autosport.
“Nothing has changed whatsoever from a contractual perspective under new ownership.
“I’ve actually not spoken to the new owners about it because from my side, there are no concerns.
“They will all be here this weekend. I’m sure any air will be cleared, but I’m not concerned. I will be on the grid next year with Williams.”
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 22, 2020
Russell said he would consult Mercedes if there was any cause for concern about his future.
“I guess in the coming weeks, if there were to be any reasons to worry, I’m in contact with the guys at Mercedes weekly,” he added.
“We are always staying in touch. I feel in a really privileged position to have their full support behind me, and long term I think I’m in a great position.
“If it really comes to that, I’ll be speaking to them. But right here, right now, I’ve no reason to be concerned.”
While Russell denied he had reacted to the reports linking Perez with his drive by talking to any other teams, he appreciated that speculation about his future was to be expected given the amount of drivers looking for a seat.
“It’s understandable there is speculation because there are so many great drivers who are available fighting for a place right now with Sergio, both the Haas guys, [Nico] Hulkenberg as well,” Russell said.
“So there will obviously be speculation. Unfortunately in Formula 1, there isn’t enough place for everyone who necessarily deserves to be here.”