Toto Wolff clarifies his statement on Russell/Bottas decision

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff says he has made a decision on who will drive for Mercedes in 2022 between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, but he is “not the only one who is involved in this decision”.

Last week we reported that Toto Wolff confirmed a decision has been made on who will drive for Mercedes in 2022. However, at the time he said they are not sure when they will announce it.

Wolff was asked if the delay in the announcement was to avoid what happened with Esteban Ocon in 2019.

Ocon, a Mercedes junior driver, was driving for Force India in 2018, but the new owner of the team, Lawrence Stroll, announced that he will be replaced with his son Lance for 2019.

Mercedes expected the young Frenchman to sign with Renault, but that didn’t materialise, so he was left without a 2019 seat.

Wolff says that situation has nothing to do with this delay.

“No, it has nothing to do with the learnings from the Esteban situation because we deal with people that I trust and respect,” the Austrian said.

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“It’s purely a question of having everybody aligned and contracts signed. It’s not only our call but there are other parties involved and you have to always proceed with respect and with diligence.”

Wolff went on to explain that he was originally asked if he has decided between Russell and Bottas, and he has, but the decision is not final because there are other stakeholders involved.

“The question that I was asked is whether I have made up my mind. I have, but I am not the only one who is involved in this decision.

“There are stakeholders that are involved that we need to respect and as long as contracts are not signed, it makes no sense to announce,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.

One of those stakeholders, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius, was present at the Belgian Grand Prix and gave his comments on the situation.

“That will be announced at the right time,” Kallenius said.

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