Williams have confirmed that George Russell is on a three-year contract and is set to drive for the team through the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Now Williams deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that the 21-year-old Briton is set to drive for the team through the 2021 season, although she didn’t do it in the traditional fashion.
Russell is a Mercedes junior driver who has been rumored as a potential replacement candidate for Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows, perhaps as early as next year. Williams, however, told Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team principal and CEO Toto Wolff that Russell is not going anywhere.
Here is what Williams had to say about the matter, according to Planet F1.
"“I told Toto that George is on a three-year contract with us, he is firmly in our plans for the future and is going nowhere.”"
Wolff, however, has stated that the goal is still that Russell will end up driving for Mercedes. Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to Planet F1.
"“We’re very happy with the development of Esteban [Ocon] and equally George. They are our most senior junior drivers and the aim is to make them ready for a seat in a Mercedes.”"
Russell believes that he is ready to be called up to Mercedes, but he is committed to Williams as it stands right now. Here is what he had to add, according to Planet F1.
"“If Toto [Wolff] called me tomorrow and asked if I was ready to drive for Mercedes my answer would be absolutely. I am not going to rely on Valtteri having bad races. I am going to go out there and make it happen for myself. If that is not good enough then I will hold my hands up and say I didn’t do the job. I am on top of my game. Right now, I am 100 per cent dedicated to Williams, but if Mercedes called me up, I will be ready.”"
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The 2017 GP3 Series champion and 2018 Formula 2 champion has had a stellar first season driving for Williams despite the fact that the team have struggled mightily to find pace and the fact that teammate Robert Kubica is responsible for scoring their lone point.
Russell’s average finishing position of 15.64 is 1.00 position higher than that of Kubica, and he has finished ahead of him in nine of the season’s first 11 races. He has outqualified him in each of these 11 races, and he has finished one lap ahead of him in four of them.
Unfortunately for Russell, one of the two races in which he finished behind Kubica was the dramatic German Grand Prix, and in that race, it was a 10th place finish and one point that were on the line between the two drivers as opposed to a 15th or 16th place result and no points. As a result, he is now the only driver in Formula 1 who has not scored any points this season, and he sits in 20th (last) in the driver standings.
Will George Russell end up driving for Williams through the 2021 Formula 1 season like he is under contract to do, or will he end up leaving the team to drive for Mercedes? As it stands right now, Claire Williams seems to have made it clear that he is going nowhere, but don’t expect speculation about the matter to die down.