Jul.19 (GMM) Mercedes’ 2021 driver lineup appears to now be set in stone.
In Austria, Damiler CEO Ola Kallenius dismissed speculation George Russell or Sebastian Vettel might join by insisting: “We’re staying with our two boys.”
Those ‘boys’ are Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who have dominated so far in 2020.
“Why would we wish to move away from a lineup that has produced such strong results?” team technical boss James Allison said in Hungary. “Why would we want to step away from something that is clearly working to try something else?”
Russell, a Mercedes junior, was categorically removed from the running this week when Williams said he will stay for the third year of his contract.
“Williams gave him the opportunity to debut in Formula 1, and we treat that with great respect,” said team boss Toto Wolff.
“On the other hand, that does not mean that he would otherwise have been guaranteed a place at Mercedes.
“For now our drivers are Valtteri and Lewis, but of course we link our plans for the future with George. But not in 2021,” Wolff insisted.
As for Vettel, Wolff denied rumours in Hungary that he is becoming the Ferrari refugee’s new manager.
But he nonetheless recommended the quadruple world champion join Aston Martin – a project Wolff recently bought into.
“Firstly, the fact that I am a shareholder in the car company has nothing to do with the F1 team,” Wolff said.
“I am also not involved in the negotiations between Lawrence Stroll, Otmar Szafnauer and Sebastian.
“Obviously I know Sebastian very well and we communicate, but it’s mostly informal.
“Sergio Perez is of course a valuable asset of that team, while on the other hand Sebastian is a four-time world champion who can also attract the attention of sponsors.
“It will be Lawrence who makes the decision,” Wolff concluded.