Williams CEO Jost Capito believes that it’s too early to start talking about George Russell’s future whose current contract with the team ends at the end of 2021.
The Williams boss, speaking with Auto Moto und Sport, is however resigned to the prospect of losing Russell stating that if Mercedes makes an offer for the Briton, it will be hard to keep hold of him.
As a Mercedes junior driver, Russell has been tipped to drive for the Brackley-based squad for some time – thoughts that have accelerated since his star performance in the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 (when he deputised for the COVID-hit Lewis Hamilton).
However, 2021 is the final year of a three-year deal with Williams, which started back in 2019. This is causing headaches for Mercedes as both of their drivers are out of contract at the end of the year – with Russell waiting in the wings to grab a coveted seat.
“When Mercedes makes an offer to a driver, it’s difficult for anyone to keep him,” Capito told Auto Motor und Sport, as quoted by RacingNews365.com. “No matter which driver, in which team.”
“It’s too early at the moment, various contracts are coming to an end,” Capito added. “At some point the silly season will start. You shouldn’t let it start earlier than you have to.
“At the moment it would be wrong to focus on alternatives or to ask what a rider will do next year. That is too early in my opinion. We need to focus on really making the team work first.”
Present Mercedes drivers Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas are out of contract at the end of the current 2021 season and when asked about Russell’s future, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was coy on the 23-year-old’s chances of a seat with his team in 2022.
“He’s a Williams driver, and is signed up to Williams,” said Wolff to The Express. “And our driver line-up is Valtteri and Lewis so I don’t see this as a realistic situation at that moment of time .
“But I can understand that it would be an interesting situation, both in the team and maybe a bit of a wild ride for all of us.
“Maybe we’ll have that in the future.”