Mercedes couldn’t have vetoed Albon joining Williams

Alex Albon will partner Nicholas Latifi at Williams next year, replacing George Russell, who has joined Mercedes.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff at the 2021 US Grand Prix.v1

Mercedes couldn’t have vetoed Williams’ decision to sign Alex Albon for 2022, Jost Capito, the team principal of the Grove-based team, has insisted.

Albon lost his Red Bull seat at the end of the 2020 season, following a poor campaign in which he was comprehensively outpaced by team-mate Max Verstappen.

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He was replaced by Sergio Perez for 2021, but the Thai-British driver will return to Formula 1 this upcoming season, with him partnering Nicholas Latifi at Williams.

Red Bull were instrumental in Albon landing the seat and returning to the pinnacle of motorsport after spending a year on the side-lines.

Alex Albon and Williams team principal Jost Capito.v1

“I discussed most of the issues with Christian [Horner], and Red Bull really wanted Alex to find an F1 seat,” Capito said in an interview with

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“That’s why the negotiations were not so difficult: they wanted to support him in his search for a seat, and we wanted Alex.”

He added that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had “no problem” with Albon joining Williams, despite some in the paddock suggesting that his prior links to Red Bull could be a stumbling block, as the Grove-based team use Mercedes power units.

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“Toto also has no problem with Alex leaving Red Bull to join us. It wasn’t as hard as it looked from the outside.”

He confirmed that Mercedes couldn’t have vetoed their signing of Albon and stressed that Williams’ driver line-up is firmly their own decision.

“We have no further obligations towards them,” said Capito.

“It has always been clear, also with Mercedes, that the decision about the drivers lies with us. We choose the drivers who are best for the team.

“That’s also in the interest of Mercedes, because they also want their customer teams to perform as well as possible. There has never been any discussion about this,” he added.

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Continuing, Capito denied that Williams’ decision to sign Abon instead of a Mercedes-backed driver had led to tensions between him and Wolff.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Toto for many years, it hasn’t deteriorated in any way.”

Williams finished eighth in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, outscoring Alfa Romeo and Haas over the course of the 22-race season.

The team will continue to be powered by Mercedes next season, and, having long been prioritising their 2022 car, Williams are hopeful that they will have a competitive package this year.

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