Williams are slowly but steadily catching up with their rivals since the start of 2020, with some decent updates from the factory. However, the struggles were quite evident throughout the season, and it could have gone worse if not for George Russell.
The young Briton shone bright in 2020 and provided the team with multiple Q2 finishes, as he remained the lone savior, fighting with much faster cars. However, their marginal success story could reach an end with Russell’s loan coming to an end by 2021.
Williams’ team principal, Simon Roberts, opened up that the former constructor’s champions might not be able to enjoy the services of Russell beyond 2021.
According to PlanetF1, Roberts spoke about the chances of Williams holding onto the potential rising world champion. “That feels like a long, long way away, but who knows,” he said.
“We’ve got to assume that this [being with Williams] is part of his career, that it is not going to be his whole career. It would be nice to think we’ve worked with one of the greats one day.”
Russell joined Williams on loan from Mercedes in 2019. Since then, he managed to impress many the F1 community, and Mercedes were one of them.
He also received a golden opportunity from the Silver Arrows during the weekend in Bahrain last season, after Lewis Hamilton fell victim to COVID-19.
Although Russell impressed everyone with his incredible drive, it failed to reflect on the results, as Mercedes miserably failed at a double-stacking pit-stop during the race.
The Williams’ team principal considered the 2020 Bahrain GP to prove that Russell is one of the special drivers on the grid.
“He’s just one of those drivers that has a huge sack full of natural talent,” he said. “What he did in Bahrain, that qualifying lap [to secure a Q2 spot], where that qualifying lap came from, we don’t know.
“That was one of those special laps that you get every now and again in F1, and he can do that. He is very young. But he comes from a good place and perhaps when people see that kind of lap in him that is what makes them think ‘this is the real deal’.”
As things stand, Russell’s pursuit of world championship titles will soon begin, as Mercedes are more confident than ever of Russell’s ability to fight for them.
Hence, 2022 could be the year when Russell can finally get himself into the dominant Mercedes AMG F1 team. Will his future turn out to be as successful as anticipated? Well, only time will tell.