Williams CEO Jost Capito has said he believes George Russell didn’t need to apologise to Valtteri Bottas or the team following his horrific crash with the Finnish driver during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The pair were scrapping over P9 when Russell crashed into Bottas after going wide and touching the grass as he had a run on the Mercedes on the approach to the Tamburello chicane.
This triggered a multi-impact collision with the barriers, and Russell quickly blamed Bottas for the incident and slapped his helmet just seconds after the crash.
The young Brit later issued an apology, but Capito believes this wasn’t necessary and said he would not have done the same.
“I told George before the race ‘listen, we’re not here to go for a drive. If there’s a gap somewhere and you think you can overtake, then do it’. If something happens, there’s no reproach from me,” Capito said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS).
“That’s just the way it is. I’ll be damned if I’m going to tell him not to take any more risks in the future.
“I would not have apologised. But it’s up to him. If he thinks it’s right, I’ll be damned if I’ll tell him not to do it. I don’t blame him. Everyone is different.
“The drivers should keep their personality, be true to themselves. They shouldn’t tell the team what to do but should speak their mind openly and honestly,” he added.
Continuing, Capito said he is “100 percent” confident that Russell is a future F1 World Champion and admitted that it will be difficult for Williams to retain him if he is offered a Mercedes seat.
“When Mercedes make an offer to a driver, it’s difficult for anyone to keep him. No matter which driver, in which team,” Capito said.
“Various contracts are coming to an end. At some point the silly season will start. You shouldn’t let it start earlier than you have to.
“At the moment it would be wrong to focus on alternatives or to ask what a driver will do next year. That’s too early in my opinion. We need to focus on really making the team work first.”