George Russell has said he believes he will eventually race for the Mercedes F1 Team if he continues on the “same path and progress”, but stressed that the Silver Arrows haven’t made any promises about giving him a seat.
Speaking on Friday during a virtual press conference that was attended by Formula1News.co.uk and took place shortly after Williams unveiled their 2021 challenger, Russell said Mercedes have told him he has a future at the team.
“Toto has given me his word, and has always given me the opportunity when they believe I deserve it,” Russell said.
“They have told me I’m a part of their future, whenever that may be, when they think the time is right.
“I think many people think next year is the natural path, but equally things change very, very quickly in motorsport so I’m not even thinking about it to be honest.
“If I perform on track and I deliver, continue on the same path and progress, I guess the opportunity will come, but I’m not even thinking about it. And no promises have been made [by Mercedes] at all,” Russell added.
Continuing, he said he is optimistic about Williams’ future in Formula One and described 2022 as a “massive opportunity” for every team on the grid, as the pecking order could radically change as a result of the new technical regulations.
Russell also said he believes Williams will benefit from investment from its new owner, Dorilton Capital, in addition to the new senior management personnel it has hired in recent months, including Jost Capito and Jenson Button.
Both Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be out of contract at Mercedes at the end of 2021, and it is widely expected that Russell will join the team next year, though Max Verstappen is also high on the Silver Arrows’ list of drivers to sign.