Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he has made his decision about his team’s future driver line-up, but is waiting for other parties to finalize their arrangements before making any announcements about it.
George Russell is expected to be brought in from Williams to race alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2022, with Valtteri Bottas believed to prefer a move to Alfa Romeo. As Wolff wants both drivers to have their futures confirmed before making any announcement, when asked on Saturday at the Belgian Grand Prix if he had made up his mind, he mischievously replied: “Yes. I have been always genuine with you…”
But after admitting he has made the decision himself he says there are other parties that he has to take into account, adding an announcement can’t yet be made “because there are stakeholders that are involved that we need to respect and as long as contracts are not signed, it makes no sense to announce.”
Reinforcing that he wants both Bottas and Russell to have their futures confirmed prior to announcing what Mercedes is doing, Wolff insists the need to wait before making his decision public is not influenced by the events of 2018, when he thought Esteban Ocon was joining Renault before Daniel Ricciardo was signed by the French team.
“Yes, and it’s not only our call, but there are other parties involved and you have to always proceed with respect and with diligence. The question I was asked (on Saturday) was whether I had made up my mind. But I’m not the only one who is involved in this decision.
“No, it has nothing to do with the learnings from the Esteban situation because we deal with people that I trust and respect. It’s purely a question of having everybody aligned and contracts signed.”