Toto Wolff says George Russell remains a part of the long-term plans of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, despite the Briton being confirmed to race for a third season with Williams Racing in 2021.
Mercedes themselves are likely to retain the services of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas into next season now that Russell and his current team-mate Nicholas Latifi have been confirmed at Williams, something that Wolff is happy about due to an excellent dynamic between its current line-up.
“We are very happy with the line-up that we have,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “Valtteri and Lewis perform well, they get on really well with each other, which is important for the dynamic within the team.
“The engineers just really appreciate their feedback. That’s one thing.”
Claire Williams, the Deputy Team Principal at Williams, was adamant that Russell would remain with her team into 2021 having signed the 2017 GP3 Series and 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion to a three-year contract that only began at the beginning of 2019.
Wolff says the Briton remaining with Williams for 2021 is good for him, and there are no guarantees that he would walk into a seat at Mercedes if one was to become available.
“On the other side George has a contract with Williams, a three-year contract which runs one more year,” added Wolff. “Claire [Williams] made it very clear that she sees George as an important asset to the team.
“And from that side one must respect the contractual situation. We knew, George and us, what we were getting ourselves into two years ago. Williams gave George the opportunity to come into F1 and this is why the decision that Williams takes, we respect it very much.
“It doesn’t mean that if George would be free, he would find a guaranteed slot within Mercedes. Valtteri and Lewis are our drivers today, loyalty is something very important to us, and we are always looking at the long time picture.
“George is certainly part of the plans for the long-term, but not 2021.”