Mercedes Will Take Key George Russell-Valtteri Bottas F1 Decision in 2022: Toto Wolff

Published 06/18/2021, 3:47 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell celebrates after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu


The George Russell-Valtteri Bottas driver swap saga is the talk of the F1 town. While there have been a few noises about Bottas’ potential ouster from Mercedes since Russell’s breakthrough in Sakhir, those have become even louder in the past couple of weeks. There have been reports hinting at a mid-season announcement from Mercedes. But Toto Wolff has poured cold water on those suggestions.

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The Mercedes Team Principal and one-third owner told the media during the French Grand Prix race weekend that the top brass was in no hurry to seal the deal yet.

On being asked about the timeline of the all-important decision, Wolff said, “Somewhere in the winter I think. But I don’t know if it’s December, January or February.”

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MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 04: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in a press conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by XPB/Pool via Getty Images)

This comes as a surprise because the consequences of delaying such a decision, especially until next year, may have dire consequences. Bottas wouldn’t like a noose hanging over his head, Russell may be courted by other teams and Mercedes won’t appreciate another Hamilton-like situation. But Toto Wolff stood his ground and explained the rationale behind it –

“It is highly possible because we have always been committed and loyal to the drivers. And this is what we’re doing.”

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What Valtteri Bottas needs to do to keep his Mercedes F1 seat according to Toto Wolff

Bottas’ season has been one to forget until now. Most F1 Pundits have tipped him to lose his seat to Russell. Though Wolff is not counting him out yet. In fact, he has laid down the gauntlet to him –

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“Drive the car fast on a Saturday and Sunday. If he does that, he puts himself in a very good situation in terms of next year.”

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 15, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas walks around the track ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

On Friday, Bottas did himself no harm with regards to that. He topped the timing sheets over Lewis Hamilton during both the Free Practice sessions. After hearing all these rumors, he may be driving with a chip on his shoulder. There is no better way to answer the critics and to convince Mercedes of his candidature than to perform well this race weekend. The ball is in his court.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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