Williams CEO Jost Capito insists the Formula 1 team has options beyond only Alex Albon and Nyck de Vries for a seat alongside Nicholas Latifi in 2022.
With George Russell set to be announced as a Mercedes driver next year but Latifi all-but-confirmed for another season, Williams needs to replace one half of its line-up.
Red Bull-backed Albon and Mercedes’ Formula E world champion de Vries are both named contenders “among others”, according to Capito.
“There are others as well,” he said. “There are others with Formula 1 experience and there are others who are, I think, young drivers who really push hard to get into Formula 1.
“It’s not just those two, there are much wider options.”
Russell’s Mercedes move will come at the expense of Valtteri Bottas, who could return to his old team – although it is expected he will join Alfa Romeo instead.
Another candidate for Williams is believed to be Alpine protege Guanyu Zhou.
Capito would not say whether he preferred a more experienced driver.
“There are a couple of drivers who are attractive and bring something to the team,” he said.
“You have different views you can have for next year. It’s nothing right or wrong.
“You can have a driver who has Formula 1 experience, that is never negative. It’s always a positive.
“But for next year as the cars are new, and everybody has to learn to drive these new cars, you can also bring a newcomer in and a rookie in because then the gap is the smallest as everybody has to get his head around driving a different car, like driving in a different category.
“It’s also an ideal point to bring somebody new into Formula 1 with the lowest risk.
“That’s why we don’t weigh options too much. And we’ll see how it turns out. We’ve got various good options.”
Capito has stressed patience throughout the process of finalising Williams’s 2022 line-up because he knows that the team is waiting for other pieces to fall into place first.
He reiterated that other teams have “high[er] pressure to sort out drivers than we have”.
“We go for what is in our interest, what is the best for us, what we believe is the best solution, try to get this solution and then go from there,” said Capito.
“But at the moment we have more options and none of them is a bad option. We’re quite relaxed about the situation.”
Albon and de Vries also appear to be options for Alfa Romeo, along with Antonio Giovinazzi.
Now Kimi Raikkonen has announced his retirement and with the team’s home race taking place at Monza next week, news of Alfa Romeo’s 2022 line-up is expected shortly.
Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur claimed it is yet to finalise its plans.
“Kimi announced the end of his career but now we have to take a decision,” said Vasseur.
“We will do it. We will do it soon.
“I don’t know if it will be next week or the week after, but I think that now we are already, almost all the cards in our hands and we have to move forward and take the decision.
“We will be able to do it quickly. I don’t know if it is before Monza, after Monza or before Sochi.”