George Russell hopes the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team will follow in the footsteps of Scuderia Ferrari and promote a young driver to its team should they feel they need a change to their line-up.
Ferrari recently announced that Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. will join the team in 2021 alongside Charles Leclerc after the shock announcement that Sebastian Vettel will leave the Maranello-based outfit after the conclusion of the current campaign.
Russell, the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Champion and a protégé of Mercedez-Benz, stepped up to Formula 1 last year with Williams Racing but was the only driver not to score a point all year due to the uncompetitive nature of the FW42 chassis.
However, his performances across the year, particularly against his then-team-mate Robert Kubica, impressed many, and Russell hopes that should either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas leave Mercedes, he would be first in line to replace them.
“Mercedes don’t have the junior programme for no reason,” said Russell to Sky Sports F1. “Likewise, Red Bull and Ferrari. The whole goal is to try and develop a driver and bring them through into the main team.
“Obviously it’s a lot about timing as well, there’s only two seats per team and at Mercedes, you’ve obviously got Lewis doing the business and he and Valtteri have been a great pairing for the last couple of years, winning the championship. So there must be part of them thinking why do we need to change.
“But on the other hand you start to look at the likes of Ferrari with Carlos and Charles – arguably they could be there for the next four, five, six years as a pairing Likewise with Danny (Ricciardo) and Lando (Norris) at McLaren, and then arguably Max [Verstappen] and Alex [Albon] at Red Bull.
“I think for any company having that stability is hugely important. It’s great to see that these teams are looking for the future, and we’ll see what’s next.”