Toto Wolff Hilariously Threatens to Demote George Russell to ‘Renault Clio Cup’ After Bottas Crash

Published 04/18/2021, 12:39 PM 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)


Lap 32 of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix witnessed a rather ugly-looking incident. The two Mercedes hopefuls, yes you heard it, Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, astonishingly, crashed into each other. But their F1 representative, Toto Wolff, has now tried to make light of this incident.

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Even though the two aren’t exactly teammates, their high-speed crash brought back the memories of Vettel-Webber shunt in Turkey a decade ago. Both enduring a power struggle within a team and both pointing their fingers at the other party.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – APRIL 26: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 26, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Ever since George Russell made an impression on his Mercedes debut last season, he’s been the favorite to replace Bottas at Mercedes. However, Toto Wolff issued a hilarious threat to Russell after he did some harm to his Mercedes chances.

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“If you do a good job you’ll be in a Mercedes, if not then we are doing the Renault Clio Cup. And today it was closer to the Renault Clio Cup,” Toto Wolff said with a grin on his face.

Though Russell need not worry too much as Wolff admitted that he “keeps teasing him.”

Toto Wolff explains who was to blame between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell for the crash

This incident has put the Mercedes Team Principal in a spot of bother. Not least because he officially represents both the drivers in their contract negotiations. So, he refused to ascertain the blame towards any party in particular for this incident.

“There weren’t a lot of friendly exchanges between the two but we need to look at it again. It takes two to tangle.”

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However, Damon Hill offered his take on the incident. He believes that although Bottas slightly moved to close the overtaking space, he had still left a car’s width on the track for Russell to overtake. Wolff nodded his head in agreement, saying, “That’s exactly how I would say. Maybe it’s not a 50-50, maybe it’s a 60-40, but I wouldn’t know in which direction.”

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in action during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

While Wolff can brush off the incident now, he will need to address the elephant in the room soon. He needs to step in before things get too ugly and out of control. Anyways, it was still a damage limitation for Mercedes as Hamilton’s second-place secures their place at the top of the Constructor’s Standings, for now.

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Bharat Aggarwal

683 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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