Toto Wolff Confesses to Manipulating F1 Media Over Bottas-Russell Mercedes Claim

Published 06/19/2021, 11:28 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 12: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff smiles as he speaks with members of the media next to St Kilda beach during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 12, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


It’s become clear that Mercedes are leading the silly season in the driver’s market this year. With both their drivers running out of contract at the end of the season, CEO Toto Wolff has a big decision to make.

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While Mercedes look to bounce back in Le Castellet this weekend, Wolff fielded questions about the driver lineup. He admits to joking about a comment he made earlier while giving an approximate timeline of when Mercedes will reveal their driver lineup for 2022.

Toto Wolff believes winter will be too late to reveal Mercedes’ 2022 line-up

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Mercedes are in a tricky spot at the moment. While they are pushing to extend Lewis Hamilton’s contract, Valtteri Bottas‘ future with the Silver Arrows remains uncertain.

In addition, speculation regarding Williams’ George Russell replacing Bottas in 2022 continues to grow with each passing day.

This Friday, the Austrian answered questions about Mercedes’ 2022 driver line-up by saying that decision would be made in the winter. However, he did a quick U-turn on those comments earlier today, admitting to playing around with the media.

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Wolff said, “I was just playing. We don’t wait until December. It’s too late.”

In addition, the 49-year-old mentioned revealing that decision in July would be too early for the Silver Arrows. “Too early. Something nice for Monza [perhaps], for you to have a nice story for example,” said Wolff.

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Wolff: It all comes down to performance

Although the choice is most likely between Bottas and Russell for 2022, Wolff highlighted consistent performance as the key criterion.

While Bottas’ performances for Mercedes have been noteworthy, the Finn’s struggles this season might call for a change in the line-up.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas before the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys

To make his point, the Austrian said, “The main driver is consistent performance. Especially in this difficult year, we need two drivers that are racing right there.

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“If one is having an off weekend or DNFs, you need the other one to bring it home. And that’s why it’s always important that both are just on the max of their ability.”

Amidst all this speculation, Mercedes will look to focus on the current season. However, fans will remain on the edge of their seats until Wolff makes the final call for the Silver Arrows‘ 2022 driver line-up.

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Sanket Nair

355 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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