Like any press conference on Thursday, the first team to start is Williams.
George Russell rejected all hypotheses regarding his future with Williams by stating that he will probably race with Williams next year. In fact Williams declared earlier this 2020 season that Russell will remain in the team for the 2021 season, although doubts have arisen over his future at the Grove team after its acquisition by Dorilton Capital.
“I have a contract for next year,” he declared.
“With the new owners coming in nothing has changed whatsoever from a contractual perspective under the new ownership.
“I’ve actually not spoken to the new owners about it because from my side there’s no concerns.
“There’ll all be here this weekend, I’m sure any air will be cleared but I’m not concerned and I’ll be on the grid next year with Williams.
“There’s obviously always speculation,” he also added.
Same for his teammate, Nicholas Latifi, who is confident about his future at Williams.
“Like George said, we have a contract and just because the team is under new ownership now doesn’t really change anything on that front so I’m not concerned at all. I have a contract with the team for next year and I’m confident I’m going to be on the grid next year.”
Earlier today Haas confirmed that both Grosjean and Magnussen won't be confirmed for the upcoming F1 season.
Grosjean was quite surprised at Haas' choice because he expected one of them to be confirmed for next season.
“I knew probably one of us would be out at the end of the year, just because the situation around the world and Covid has made it very hard financially for a lot of companies around the world, so I knew one of us would go out.
“I said to Guenther on the call when he called me that I was expecting one of us to leave, and he said, ‘No, for financial reasons, I need both of you out.’ So, fair enough, I fully understand. It's been a tough year with Covid in a lot of industries and companies have suffered from it. The team is going a different path and I wish them luck and the best for the future” he stated.
Magnussen, instead, declared that he wasn't able to bring the sort of budget that the team needs.
“I can't bring the kind of backing that you need in Formula 1,” he said.
“I have sponsors and I have partners, but it's not at all big in this world, and it's not enough to make a difference really, for me. But I'm not going to speak for the team. Guenther and Gene and the team can do that, they can tell you why they did what they did, but certainly I can't bring what a lot of other drivers can bring out there.”
In view of this race weekend Lance Stroll, who tested positive for COVID-19 and unable to race at the Eifel Grand Prix, said he is now feeling better.
“I’m feeling good,
“My symptoms were very mild and I didn’t really struggle so I’m happy to be back and looking forward to the weekend.
“Since I tested negative on Monday I’ve been starting up my cardio again and I feel good, I feel like I’m in great shape and I look forward to getting in the car tomorrow.”
Regarding the battle for the 3rd place in the Constructors’ Standings, Daniel Ricciardo stated: “We're definitely in the hunt, we're properly in it,
“But I think equally, all three teams, we're so evenly-matched and sometimes it's up to even the first lap, who gets a better start, who can get track position, and I think that's how close it is, the battle.
“Obviously what's going to be important to dictate that battle is also reliability, and getting both cars in the points when possible, so that's obviously what we'll really try and target to make life easier. But it's close… Obviously at the start of the year, Racing Point looked like they were a clear step ahead, then McLaren showed strong signs and we have as well, so honestly I think it's really close.”
Mercedes stopped the 2020 car development and already begun developing the 2021 car. Max Verstappen didn’t seem worried about Mercedes having begun work on their 2021 car. In fact he said: “From our side, I think it's important that we just keep learning about this car, because we can't really change a lot for next year,
“So whatever we do and learn now on the car we have will also be better for us next year. Whatever Mercedes does for sure will work for them, but maybe doesn't work for us, so we'll just keep on pushing and we'll find out of course next year where we all stand.”
Furthermore, Verstappen hopes Red Bull will once again attack Mercedes on the Portimão track.
“Again here, it's a track we haven't been to, so we'll have to look again how competitive we're going to be,
“But balance-wise, I think the car felt a little bit more connected – which of course is always a nice feeling.”
The end of the 2020 F1 season is getting closer and closer, as is the contract between Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. The German driver said he wanted to leave the Italian brand with dignity.
“I think it is a special brand,
“I’ve had the privilege to live through those emotions together with the fans, with the team and the country of Italy so I think that’s an enormous privilege.
“But you know, like other things, these things come to an end and I’m very much looking forward to a new chapter that starts next year. But before that one starts, as I said, I’ll try to close the chapter here with dignity and try to get myself back together so that I can deliver the sort of performances that I know that I can.”
There had been a previous exchange of views regarding the Black Lives Matters movement, for which Vitaly Petrov had criticized Lewis Hamilton for encouraging drivers to get down on their knees before a race’s start in respect of anti racism protest.
Hamilton said it was a surprise that Petrov was chosen to be one of the stewards during the Portuguese Grand Prix.
“I’ve not seen all the quotes,” he said.
“So yes, of course, that is I would say a surprise that they’re hiring someone that has those beliefs and is so vocal about things that we’re trying to fight against.
“We should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the time we are living in and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us,
“So I don’t really understand what their goal is or why particularly he’s here because it’s not that they don’t have any other good options.