George Russell believes Sergio Perez’s camp is planting rumors about a move to Williams to try and force Red Bull into a quick decision over the Mexican’s future.
Perez has been in talks with Williams about a potential drive in 2021, as he can bring an attractive commercial package that would be even more beneficial than usual with new regulations being introduced in 2022. However, with Alex Albon’s future uncertain and Red Bull making clear it will look to an experienced driver such as Perez or Nico Hulkenberg if it replaces Albon, Russell believes talk of a change at Williams is being used for other reasons.
“I mean, nothing’s changed from my side, I try and do my talking on the track, and as I said before I am not concerned for next year,” Russell said. “I know Mercedes and Toto (Wolff) have my back. They’ve told me that. Toto himself has told me, that which I absolutely trust.
“I think this all speculation has probably been fed by the Perez camp who are trying to apply pressure on other teams further down the grid. Potentially a Red Bull seat. So that’s my views on it, I’ve got a contract, I’ve got nothing to worry about and I’m just here trying to do that.”
Russell said he has been reassured by Williams that there is no substance to the rumors, despite acting team principal Simon Roberts refusing to confirm his seat on Friday in Portugal.
“They’ve said no idea where these rumors have come from, they never like to comment on contractual situations,” he said. “Obviously following Simon’s press conference on Friday things were taken probably slightly out of context which is exactly what the team didn’t want to do, and ultimately the team didn’t want to comment on it as they feel it isn’t necessary and it opens them up to further queries further down the line.
“But as I said I’ve a contract, and I’ll be on the grid next year and I’m pretty confident of that. I think something pretty substantial would have to happen in the coming weeks [for that to change].”
With the new Williams owners present in Portugal over the weekend, Russell also spoke to Dorilton Capital’s representatives about the situation.
“Yeah, they’ve been here, spoke with them, they said don’t worry, and everything’s going to be fine,” he said. “Like I said we had a small chat about it and moved on to talking about he rest of this year, moving into next year and how we’re going to push the team further forward, which is enough for me.”