Mercedes holds Williams talks over Russell replacing Hamilton - The Race
Formula 1

Mercedes holds Williams talks over Russell replacing Hamilton

Dec 1 2020
By Scott Mitchell

Mercedes and Williams have held discussions over George Russell replacing Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

World champion Hamilton will miss the penultimate round of the 2020 F1 season after testing positive for COVID-19.

Russell is a Mercedes protege who signed a multi-year deal with Williams in 2019 and will drive for the team again next year.

Williams blocked Mercedes from making a potential move to take Russell for 2021 after exercising a right to extend his deal to a third season.

Nov 30 : Grosjean out, Fittipaldi in for Haas

However, Williams is understood by The Race to be open to the idea of letting Russell race for Mercedes in Bahrain – and Mercedes may need him again in Abu Dhabi next week depending on Hamilton’s isolation schedule and whether he can test negative in time for the season finale.

One consideration for Williams is it is last in the constructors’ championship but a good result in either of the final two races could lift it above Haas into ninth, and gain extra prize money.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Bahrain Grand Prix Race Day Sakhir, Bahrain

Their drivers have finished 11th on four occasions this season and yet to score a point, but this weekend’s unusual race on the power-sensitive Bahrain Outer circuit could be an opportunity for an unexpected result.

Williams would therefore ideally like Russell, its lead driver, to take part but is aware of the opportunity available to him with Mercedes.

It is unclear what kind of deal will need to be struck to convince Williams to part with its driver but as a Mercedes customer team it has a good working relationship and wants to maintain that.

So it is unlikely that Williams would play hardball, particularly having stood in Russell’s way of a potential Mercedes drive for 2021.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

Russell has extensive testing experience with Mercedes having completed six days in total with the team since 2017, most recently in Abu Dhabi last year.

He has not driven the Mercedes W11 but neither has Mercedes’ reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who is the other candidate to replace Hamilton.

It would be an enormous opportunity for Russell, who has yet to score a point in F1, to cement his reputation as a star of the future.

A decision is expected to be communicated on Wednesday.

If Russell is free to join Mercedes, Williams would have a range of options available to it – the easiest being to call up reserve driver Jack Aitken (who is in Bahrain preparing for the Formula 2 season finale), or request the use of Vandoorne in return for letting Russell go.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying Day Sakhir, Bahrain

What did you think of this story?

Share via
Copy link

Welcome To
The Race

Thank you for joining The Race community! Your activation email is on its way. Just click on the link in the email to confirm your sign-up (and check your spam folder just in case).
Continue reading
Free Articles Read This Month

Join The Race Community

UNLIMITED FREE ACCESS
to the best motorsport coverage,
videos, podcasts and quizzes.
Get the cream of our content direct to your inbox.
Get involved and comment on content.

Join Now!

You Have
Reached Your Limit

The Race has been stopped as you’ve reached your article limit for this month.
To get UNLIMITED FREE access, all you need to do is register.
Click here to get started