The Williams F1 Team is considering signing Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg or Daniil Kvyat for 2022, should George Russell partner Sir Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year, according to reports.
Russell has been Williams’ standout driver in recent seasons, and it looks likely that he will finally be rewarded for his strong performances with a Mercedes seat.
Although it has been widely speculated that Bottas will effectively swap seats with Russell and return to Williams, Hulkenberg and Kvyat are also on the Grove-based team’s shortlist, according to Formula1.com reporter Lawrence Barretto.
He also suggested that Williams are interested in Pierre Gasly, though it is likely to be far from easy for the Frenchman to sever his Red Bull commitments, especially given how impressive he has been in the AlphaTauri as of late.
Barretto added that there is a “very strong possibility” that Nicholas Latifi will be retained by Williams for a third season, though an all-new driver line-up in 2022 is not out of the question for the team.
Earlier this week, former F1 driver Martin Brundle said that the upcoming British Grand Prix would be the perfect place for Mercedes to announce Russell as Hamilton’s team-mate for next year.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if George got the drive next year alongside Lewis at Mercedes,” Brundle said.
“Whether it’ll be announced at Silverstone, if they’re going to do it, why not? It would be the perfect place.”
Continuing, he said: “If you were running Mercedes you’d ask: ‘is Valtteri Bottas is our man to win the World Championship when Lewis inevitably retires two, three, four years into the future?’
“You’d have to think no.
“I hate to say that, I really admire Valtteri as he is a great driver and does an amazing job against the might of Lewis Hamilton but you can’t honestly say if Lewis wasn’t there Valtteri would be dominating instead, can you?
“So I think Mercedes have to get a young gun in there that would emerge as their automatic new team leader sooner than later,” he concluded.