Uncertain future for Russell at Williams Racing

By Andrew Hooper
October 18 2020

 Uncertain future for Russell at Williams Racing

Reports across various F1 publications have started to raise concerns in regard to the future of George Russell at the Williams Racing Team. With the announcement that Sergio Perez would not be driving for Racing Point in 2021 questions have been asked as to where he would go next if he wishes to stay in Formula One. The major source web site it.motorsport.com reported that George's future with Williams is far less certain than what you would have thought a few months ago. If the Williams team chooses to secure the services of Perez it has one of two drivers who they could let go either George Russell or Nicholas Latifi.

According to this report Perez had initially targeted a drive with Haas for the 2021 season. But this as an option has been affected by the further reports that Haas is looking at F2 driver Nikita Mazepin, who has considerable backing from his billionaire father Dmitry, with a large amount of interest such that Perez's chance of securing a Haas drive may be limited. At one stage there were even rumours that had Dmitry after he failed in his attempt to purchase Williams had shifted his focus onto the Haas team. Even if he does not look at purchasing the team initially it would still leave that door open to Haas if Gene Haas ever chose to leave Formula One.

French broadcaster Canal+ reported last week that the Mazepin has signed a contract with Haas for 2021, but the Haas team has yet to confirm this.

When questioned about this recently Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said: "It is a very good year for drivers in F2 and of course Mazepin is one of those drivers. So why wouldn't [Mazepin] be on the shortlist?" As for the current Haas drivers Steiner added: "I'm sure that Kevin and Romain will not sit at home waiting for my call.

If Perez can't secure a drive at Haas his only remaining option is that of Williams Racing. George is contracted to drive for Williams in 2021 but this was originally put together when the Williams family was in charge of the team. But the report further puts forward the view that the new owners Dorilton Capital may not agree with this relationship continuing especially if a more financial lucrative option is presented to them. If all these factors come into play then there is a real risk that George may see himself without a drive at Williams in 2021.

One could ask why not consider Latifi for the driver that has to be let go if they chose to go down the Perez path. But one has to remember that Nicholas does bring funding to the team which they may not want to lose. Whereas George only brings funding from Mercedes who contribute to pay for his drive. This is believed to be nowhere near as much as what Perez and Latifi would bring to the team. Perez has considerable backing from Mexican telecommunications companies Telmex and Telcel while Latifi brings Sofina, Lavazza to the Williams team currently.

There are quite a few things that have to take place before the Williams team would be forced into making a decision the first of these been Perez not being able to secure a drive with any other team. But if Perez is forced to consider the Williams Racing option then the future prospects for George may not look very good, especially if his expected drive at Mercedes is not available. But with Bottas remaining at Mercedes in 2021 this seat is certainly not vacant. On top of this the question as to whether Mercedes would be willing to increase their funding to keep George in a drive for 2021 while waiting for 2022 is a big unknown.

It is expected that a decision may be made as early as the end of October but regardless this is going to be a very tense period of time for quite a few drivers hoping to either retain or secure a drive for 2021 and for several teams hoping to secure more funding combined with the best possible driver for their team.


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