George Russell believes that the rumors that he will be kicked out of Williams next year are fuelled by Sergio Perez’ leadership.
Russell has a driving contract for Williams in 2021, but stories ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix suggest that his position could be threatened by Perez, who is currently a free agent.
Williams has done little to dispel speculation, and current team manager Simon Roberts refused to confirm during a press conference on Friday that Russell and his current teammate Nicolas Latifi will remain on the team.
Perez, who will lose to Sebastian Vettel in next year’s race Racing Point, will also claim Red Bull’s 2021 position if Alex Albon can not justify his place in the team in the remaining races.
Russell believes that rumors about his position are being fuelled by the management of Perez in an attempt to gain influence in negotiations with Red Bull.
I think all this speculation is probably fuelled by the Perez camp trying to put pressure on the other teams further down the net, perhaps [on] the Red Bull compound, Russell said.
That’s my point. I have a contract, I don’t have to worry, and I’m here to concentrate on my work.
Fault! The file name is not specified. A number of news items have suggested that George Russell’s position in Williams is threatened by Sergio Perez. Mario Rienzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 on Getty Images
Russell signed a contract in 2021 with the former management of Williams, who refused to participate in the Italian Grand Prix, and that was just one of the reasons to assume that the new owners of the team, Dorilton Capital, would want to make changes.
But Russell, who also signed a contract at a young age with Williams, an engine supplier to Mercedes, said he had received insurance from Dorilton that his job would not be compromised in 2021.
They were here, I talked to them, and they told me not to worry, and everything would be fine. We’ve talked about that and talked about the rest of the year, next year and how we’re going to proceed. That’s good enough for me.
They said they had no idea where the rumors were coming from. They don’t like to comment on contract situations, of course after Simon’s press conference on Friday everything was taken out of context, probably a bit what the team didn’t want.
In the end, the team did not want to comment on it because they did not think it was necessary and it will be open for further requests later on.
I have a contract, and I’ll be online next year, and I’m very sure of it. I think something important will happen in the next few weeks to make a difference.
Russell said he was optimistic that the situation will improve in the coming weeks.
Of course, a lot of speculation. I think he was fed by other people. It’s gonna be okay, like I said.
I would say that [it] will be 100% clear from the team’s point of view, probably by the end of next week at the latest.
In a speech in Portugal on Saturday, the head of the Mercedes-Toto-Wolf team said that Russell would have a guaranteed spare role in the Mercedes if he missed the Williams 2021 place.
If George slips into the system, I’ll be happy to include him in our team, we’ll have a sensational reserve, Wolf said. I’d give him a mega test and prepare him for the 2022 explosion.
He went on to say: I fully respect Williams’ independence, just like any other team, and they have to make their own decisions. Sometimes financial decisions take precedence over sporting decisions, and sometimes sporting decisions need to be balanced, which is not always easy.
No, it won’t hurt the relationship, it’ll be disappointing.