Toto Wolff Vouches for Ex-McLaren Driver to Make an F1 Return in 2022

Published 07/25/2021, 2:10 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


George Russell has been one of the hottest topics of this season, amidst a potential switch to the championship-winning F1 team, Mercedes AMG. Toto Wolff, the Briton’s manager, too has shown signs of acknowledging the speculations. And this move will light up the drivers’ market, with a seat possibly opening up at Williams.

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Of course, there is Nico Hulkenberg, who is keen on returning to the grid after two years. However, the German is facing tough competition from two Formula-E drivers – Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne, with the latter being a significant competitor.

Vandoorne has been yearning to make a comeback in F1 after the brief yet unimpressive phase with McLaren. Hence, amid rising talks around Vandoorne’s potential return, Mercedes F1 boss, Toto Wolff, opined that both Mercedes EQ drivers deserve to race in Formula 1.

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What did Toto Wolff say?

Speaking to Autosport, the Austrian opined that both Vandoorne and de Vries are talented enough to step into the world of F1. Of course, this possibly has something to do with their recent drive at London E-Prix. Having qualified outside of the top 8, both the drivers managed to finish in commendable positions.

Both drivers have the talent and the work ethic and the intelligence to be in Formula 1. Both of them won the most important junior series,” he said.

Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren Honda walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Stoffel was thrown in a situation with McLaren that was difficult to handle back in the day. They both deserve to be Formula 1. And I would very much hope they can find their way back.

Wolff further reckoned that he wouldn’t stand in the way of Vandoorne or de Vries if either of them receives an opportunity to race in F1. “I’m really happy having them as our drivers in Formula E, I couldn’t wish for anybody else.

But I would never be in the way of any driver if they were to have the possibility of driving in Formula 1,” the Austrian added.

Available options for Williams F1 in 2022

Initially, it looked like Valtteri Bottas might return to his former team, Williams, completing a switch of seats with Russell.

However, recent developments suggested that the Finn might head to the Ferrari-backed Alfa Romeo instead, possibly replacing Kimi Raikkonen.

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Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Third placed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates on the podium with a trophy REUTERS/Albert Gea

This leaves Mercedes with abundant options to choose from for the crucial second seat at Williams. There are two drivers, currently lining up under the experienced category – Hulkenberg and Vandoorne.

Apart from the duo, there are de Vries, 2020 F2 runner-up Callum Ilott, Williams’ test driver Roy Nissany, and others. There could also be a surprise contender in Pierre Gasly, who is keen on stepping out of the Red Bull family.

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Hence, amidst such a hefty number of cards to choose from, who will finally end up alongside Nicholas Latifi next season?

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Rohit Kumar

1163 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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