Formula 1 2020: British racer George Russell insists he's part of Williams after reports of Mercedes move
George Russell, who signed a three-year deal with Williams before joining last season, said he did not feel ‘overlooked’ by current world champions Mercedes.
Budapest: British Formula One driver George Russell said on Thursday he was staying with Williams next season, ending speculation about a possible move to champions Mercedes, alongside Canadian Nicholas Latifi.
“I will be staying with Williams for 2021. You’ve heard it here first,” the 22-year-old, now in his second season in Formula One, told a video news conference ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Russell is backed by Mercedes and had been seen as a possible replacement for Valtteri Bottas, who is out of contract at the end of the year but now looking sure to stay with the champions.
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) July 16, 2020
Media reports have suggested Bottas has agreed a deal in principle.
The Finn won this month’s season-opener in Austria and is leading his team mate and six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton by six points in the standings after two races.
Russell, who signed a three-year deal with Williams before joining last season, said he did not feel ‘overlooked’ by Mercedes.
“I’m not disappointed in Mercedes at all,” he said. “There was nothing more they could do. Claire (Williams) was very firm with her decision that she was not willing, or not ready, to let me go.
“Ultimately as I have a contract with Williams I have to respect that decision. I’m here and I’ll be giving everything I’ve got for Williams this year and into next year.”
Latifi, a rookie this season, also has a multi-year deal with Williams.
Cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's race on 23 May has sold "already 4,000 tickets", according to Christian Tornatore, commissioner-general of the Automobile Club de Monaco.
The Mercedes driver started from second on the grid behind teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished third behind Verstappen's Red Bull and took a bonus point for the fastest lap.
Romain Grosjean will also drive a 2019 Mercedes, the W10 model in which Lewis Hamilton won the world championship, on June 27 in 'demonstration laps' ahead of the French Grand Prix.