In recent weeks, the number one of the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff, had temporally localized in the summer break the decision on the driver who would make up the team’s formation in 2022, after Lewis Hamilton’s biennial reconfirmation. The choice was immediately restricted to two names, that of Valtteri Bottas, currently fourth in the drivers’ championship and with the team for five seasons now, and that of George Russell, in the Mercedes orbit since January 2017 and in Williams for three years. It is widely assumed that the decision will fall on the young Russell, who already last year replaced Lewis Hamilton who was stopped for Covid-19 in Bahrain and nearly won, but Toto Wolff has always remained rather buttoned up on the subject.
It is reasonable to think that the Austrian manager does not want to take false steps so as not to demotivate Bottas in the scenario of a point-by-point world championship fight with Red Bull, in which the contribution of the Finn could prove decisive. Hence probably the statements in which he assures that he will work to find a seat suited to the talent of the driver who will come out ‘defeated’ by Wolff’s choice. For Bottas, Alfa Romeo Sauber and Williams have already come forward, while for Russell the only alternative on the table is staying at Grove for a further season.
We will probably have to wait a little longer for the official announcement of the Mercedes, as suggested by Toto Wolff during an interview with the Germans of the Bild: “We have to choose between Valtteri’s stability and George’s talent, projected to the future. I want the whole issue addressed in September, so that both can position themselves appropriately for next season“, Said the 49-year-old from Vienna.