Williams’ acting team principal Simon Roberts has reaffirmed the team’s commitment to George Russell and Nicholas Latifi after admitting he caused confusion a week ago.
Russell’s future has been uncertain after it emerged Sergio Perez had been in talks with Williams about a possible race seat. At last week’s Portuguese Grand Prix, Russell insisted he’d be staying with the team as he had a contract, but Roberts declined to confirm that contract would be honored on two occasions.
On Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, the pair were again asked about the situation but the response was more certain.
“I will tell you what I said last week and really, nothing has changed,” Russell (pictured at right, above, with Latifi and Roberts) said. “It was announced earlier this year. Obviously a lot of speculation going around and a lot of good drivers are on the market, but I will be in the seat next year with Williams in 2021. So that is what I can tell you.”
Asked if he could confirm Russell’s future in response, Roberts added: “Yes, I can.
“I probably caused confusion last week. We didn’t really want to comment on the drivers position. But as George said, Claire (Williams) made the announcement earlier this year and nothing has changed. And this is our driver line-up for this year and next year. We are very happy with them and we look forward to working with them in a continued way.”
However, Roberts would not address whether talks with Perez had taken place, with the Mexican also a target for Red Bull and believed to be focused on a potential seat alongside Max Verstappen.
“All I can tell you is that nothing is changed,” Roberts said. “We are going to stick with these two guys as our drivers. That always was the plan, and that is what we are going to do going to 2021. So I cannot add to the speculation. There’s all sorts of stuff going on in the padlock. And that is all I have to say, really.”