George Russell says Mercedes hasn’t given him any promises over his future despite both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas being out of contract at the end of this year.
Williams has been Russell’s home for the past two years and the Briton has impressed despite often being handed uncompetitive cars. The 2018 Formula 2 champion’s stock rose further with a one-off appearance for Mercedes last year (pictured above) that almost saw him win in Bahrain; but even though Hamilton has only committed for one year Russell says he hasn’t been promised a seat next season.
“Toto (Wolff, team principal) has always given me his word and he has always given me the opportunity when they believe I deserve it,” Russell said. “They have told me that I am a part of their future — whenever that may be, again, is when they believe the time is right.
“I think a lot of people think next year is the natural path but equally things change very, very quickly in motorsport, especially in Formula 1, so I’m not even thinking about to be honest. I obviously had a taste of life at the front of the grid last year but as I said I’m just focused on the here and now, focusing on Bahrain.
“As I said, if I perform on track and I deliver, continue on the same path and progress that I’ve been on so far I guess in the future the opportunity will come but I’m not even thinking about it. And no promises have been made, at all.”
Russell says he is not concerned about his future at this point, because even if a Mercedes seat doesn’t come his way in 2022 he sees Williams moving further up the grid under new management.
"We don't forget our history, our heritage, but we are moving on to a bright future." pic.twitter.com/3rzXdLiSir
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) March 5, 2021
“First and foremost I am a Williams driver this year and as you said, there’s a lot of speculation and thoughts ahead of the 2022 season where I will be.
“It’s an interesting position for me but as it currently stands with the whole investment from Dorilton, the changes I’ve already seen taking place at Williams…. Williams have finished last in the constructors’ for the past three seasons — I don’t think that will be the case in 2022. I see a very bright future here. There’s a massive opportunity for every team in F1 for 2022 and with the investment we’ve got, with the guys who are already here with the likes of Jost (Capito) and the guys that are coming in, the relationship that has been built with Mercedes, it’s looking very exciting for the team.
“I guess I’ve got a very interesting decision on my hands towards the middle of this year but I am not even thinking about that now — we’re still over a year away yet.”