British Formula One driver George Russell has revealed on the latest edition of the F1Nation podcast that the British Grand Prix will not feature any announcement of his F1 future. There had been many predicting the stars would align in that this weekend’s British spectacle would bring with it the news on the future of one of the country’s most promising talents yet Russell insists “nothing will be announced”.
George Russell is managed by Mercedes but currently demonstrates his craft at Williams Racing. As a result of being part of the junior programme of the Silver Arrows since 2017, speculation had arisen that the Brit would partner Sir Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022.
However, Valtteri Bottas is not going to relinquish his seat without a fight and the recent form of the Finnish driver saw him achieve back to back podiums at Austria’s double-header. Bottas’ third place finish at the Styrian Grand Prix was then bettered a week later when he claimed second place on the rostrum – albeit almost 18 seconds behind a dominant Max Verstappen.
Red Bull Racing is giving Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team a real battle and look the favourite to dethrone the seven-time consecutive F1 Constructors’ Champions. Therefore, it is vital for both drivers within Mercedes’ ranks to deliver the team a large haul of points on a consistent basis. For that reason, Valtteri Bottas could not have timed his run of form better.
Mercedes has previously announced that it would decide during the summer as to which driver would line up in 2022 alongside their talismanic seven-time F1 Drivers’ Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton. Despite the fact that George Russell’s contract with Williams expires at the end of the 2021 season, the British racer has always said he knows he will have a drive guaranteed with a team in 2022. Unfortunately, for all the talent Valtteri Bottas has at his disposal, it is not yet known whether the same can be said for the Finnish driver who also would see his current contract expire at the culmination of the 2022 F1 season.
Speaking on the latest episode of the F1 Nation podcast, George Russell was asked point blank if he had already signed for Mercedes in 2022:
"I signed with Mercedes five or six years ago now. That is 100% true. As everybody knows, they look after me.” Russell deflected in his calm quick witted way…before then expanding further.
"But with regards to my drive for next year, nothing has been signed or sealed, and nothing will be announced in Silverstone. So I can let you know that."
George Russell’s talent and potential is clear to see and with the so-called ‘Mr Saturday’ becoming ever closer to his first points since racing for Williams, the clamour to see him in a ‘top seat’ will only increase.
"Obviously the team have finished last [in the standings] for the past three years in a row, [but] I'm pretty confident that will not be the case next year," Russell said.
"Things are really making a turn for the better. Things are really getting in line and in place. Jost [Capito] is doing a fantastic job building that structure for everybody to be more efficient, more streamlined, and every single decision that has been made so far I think has been a good one for the right reasons.
"I see no reason why over the course of the next couple of years that Williams can't fight their way back to the front…That might sound silly or stupid now, but you've only got to look back at 2013 when Valtteri and [Pastor] Maldonado were in the car. They finished ninth or 10th in the constructors, and came out the following year and finished third, podiums at most races, pole positions.”
George Russell’s optimism was then reiterated in his closing comments on the matter during the F1 Nation podcast:
"This sport can change in a heartbeat when you've got this big regulation change. Fingers crossed for Williams it changes for the better."
Such remarks show that should the British driver remain within the ranks at Williams beyond 2021, Russell is clearly aware of the team’s history and potential for success. As such, he may be the man to see such triumph return to the much-loved team.