Mercedes to decide driver line-up in September, Williams’ boss will wait

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he wants to “settle” who will be driving next to Lewis Hamilton in 2022 “in September”.

Toto Wolff has already confirmed that the choice will be made between Mercedes’ current driver Valtteri Bottas and their junior driver George Russell.

Both Wolff and Russell have said that a decision in expected to be made during the F1 summer break, and now Mercedes’ team boss confirms he wants “the topic” settled in September.

“We have to choose between the stability of Valtteri and the talent of George, where the future lies,” Wolff told Bild newspaper.

“I want the topic settled in September so both of them can position themselves properly for the coming season,” concluded the Austrian.

This led to numerous news outlets saying that Wolff is prolonging the decision. However, ‘making a decision’ and ‘settling things’ are not the same thing.

Mercedes may well have already decided on who will be their driver, but it takes time for the two parties to come to terms and for the contracts to be signed.

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George Russell’s contract with Williams expires at the end of 2021, but Williams team boss Jost Capito says the team will not decide on who their driver for 2022 will be, until Mercedes makes a decision on Russell.

“For us, it’s not even worthwhile thinking about it because that is a Mercedes decision,” Capito said.

“If they take him, they take him. If not, he will stay. At the moment, he would like to stay if he doesn’t get the Mercedes call because he likes the team.

“He sees how it’s going forward. If he doesn’t go to Mercedes, we’ll be more than happy to keep him, of course.

“But there’s nothing that we can do now. We’re just focusing on the season, race-by-race and go from there.

“It’s massively impressive how George handles the situation. He doesn’t get taken away by ‘Do I have to wait? When is the call? Do I have to get it? Do I not get it?’

“He is so cool on that and focused on what he has to do for Williams. This is really very impressive.”

There have been several drivers connected to a possible Williams seat if Russell leaves. One of those is Mercedes’ own Valtteri Bottas, who started his Formula 1 career with the British team.

However, Capito says his team will not negotiate with any other drivers until Russell’s situation is resolved.

“Quite a lot of drivers have contacted me and I explain to them the situation.

“At the moment there’s nothing more to discuss because I can’t sign up any driver. We can’t make any decision as long there is a chance to keep George.

“It’s very simple, the George situation has to be solved and then we can react,” concluded Williams’ team boss.

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