George Russell is leaving his future in the hands of team boss Claire Williams – even though he is “pushing” for a Mercedes seat.
The Englishman is a Mercedes junior driver who, in a football analogy, is ‘on loan’ at Williams, hoping to prove his ability as an F1 racer and eventually make it into the ‘first team’ with the manufacturer that has nurtured his career since early 2017.
There is some way to go before the 2018 F2 champion can usurp Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas, however, and the 22-year-old from Norfolk knows Claire Williams will have a major say in what direction he takes up to the end of the 2021 campaign.
Russell said in quotes on Formula 1’s official website: “Obviously, Mercedes are my managers – we are always in talks on a weekly basis, almost daily basis, for the past two years.
“Those talks have increased as I’m pushing for my future. But I know what I need to do, which is just perform to my maximum on track.
“I have a contract for next year with Williams, so ultimately it’s potentially in Claire’s hands of where my future lies.”
Asked whether there was ever any possibility of him moving to Renault before Fernando Alonso’s confirmation as replacement for Daniel Ricciardo, Russell responded: “As I mentioned, I have a contract with Williams next year, I’m a Mercedes junior driver.
“So like I say, I don’t think Claire would allow me to go anywhere else potentially other than Mercedes, and even then who knows?
“Like I say, that’s not in my hands, that’s in her hands, and for all the powers above me to deal with and see what happens there.”
As for Alonso’s impending return to Renault, Russell said he was “quite pleased” about the move as “Formula 1 is about having the best of the best drivers”.
He added: “You know there’s arguments that people feel like he’s depriving younger drivers of an opportunity, but I think as things currently stand you know it makes complete sense for Renault, for Fernando, and I think he will come back and do a great job.”
Russell was in contention to score his first ever F1 points in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix until forced to retire, and his Williams car will already have a new power unit for the second event at the Red Bull Ring, the Styrian Grand Prix.