No Williams reaction until Mercedes decide on Russell

Date published: August 22 2021 - Henry Valantine

George Russell on his phone.

Williams team principal Jost Capito says he can only decide on their 2022 driver line-up once George Russell’s future has been confirmed.

Mercedes’ choice between Russell and Valtteri Bottas for next season is one of the most eagerly-anticipated pieces of news in the Formula 1 paddock for some time, but nothing has been announced as yet.

Capito has confirmed that if Mercedes opt for the experienced Finn to continue with the team, Russell will be extending his three-year stay with Williams into 2022.

While Nicholas Latifi is widely expected to stay on with the team next season, the situation regarding the second seat at Williams is currently up in the air – but Russell would be first choice to continue in a Williams seat if a move to Mercedes does not materialise.

George Russell smiling at his home race. Britain, July 2021.

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“For us, it’s not even worthwhile thinking about it because that is a Mercedes decision. If they take him, they take him. If not, he will stay,” Capito told GPFans Global.

“At the moment, he would like to stay if he doesn’t get the Mercedes call because he likes the team. He sees how it’s going forward. If he doesn’t go to Mercedes, we will be more than happy to keep him, of course.

“But there’s nothing we can do now. We are just focusing on the season, race by race and go from there.

“It’s massively impressive how George handles the situation. He doesn’t get taken away by ‘do I have to wait? When is the call? Do I have to get it? Do I not get it?’ He is so cool on that and focused on what he has to do for Williams. This is really very impressive.”

A host of drivers have been linked with the potential vacancy which could be left by Russell should he depart for Mercedes. But while Capito says he has had plenty of contract from interested parties, absolutely nothing can be decided until Mercedes make their call about his current Williams driver.

“Not me speaking to others,” Capito said when asked if anyone has been in touch about a Williams drive. “Quite a lot of drivers have contacted me and I explain to them the situation.

“At the moment, there’s nothing more to discuss because I can’t sign any driver.

“We can’t make any decision as long there is a chance to keep George. It’s very simple. The George situation has to be solved and then we can react.”