Sergio Perez will not be replacing George Russell at Williams, with acting team principal Simon Roberts confirming both Russell and Nicholas Latifi (again) for 2021.
Williams had previously confirmed Russell and Latifi were to remain team-mates in 2021, but Perez suddenly emerged as a shock target for the team after Racing Point decided to replace him with Sebastian Vettel next year.
Williams’ new owners, Dorilton Capital, were said to be weighing up their options again given Perez has substantial backing from his sponsors and Roberts did little to quash those rumours when asked about them in the lead up to the Portuguese Grand Prix.
But, on the media day at Imola, with Roberts, Russell and Latifi all sat together (socially distanced of course) the former finally confirmed that the driver line-up will be remaining the same.
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 30, 2020
“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.”
Russell added: “It’s never nice to hear any speculation that your job is potentially up for grabs.
“But nevertheless, I was confident in what I could perform on-track and ultimately I had to do the talking on-track.
“As Simon said, 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 via other teams surrounding drivers to create these issues over the last couple of weeks.”
2021 will be Russell’s third and potentially final year at Williams as part of the initial deal agreed between the team’s former owners and Mercedes.
As for Perez, with Haas set to announce Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher as their 2021 line-up, it appears Red Bull could be the only viable option left on the table if they do decide to axe Alex Albon from the senior team.